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Lagrangian motion of particles and tracers on isopycnals

Lagrangian motion of particles and tracers on isopycnals
Lagrangian motion of particles and tracers on isopycnals
This study looks at the behavior of fluid particles/parcels that move along isopycnic surfaces. The aim is to show that the diffusive process of mixing by eddies causes such particles to move toward regions of greater isopycnic layer thickness or, equivalently, weaker stratification.

This is illustrated using a wind-driven eddy-resolving isopycnic layer model in a zonal channel configuration. Particles and tracers are integrated to demonstrate that their centers of mass move up the layer thickness gradient. In particular, a field of uniformly distributed particles is seen to move toward regions of large layer thickness, so the distribution of particles becomes asymmetric. The asymmetry is most obvious when the gradient of layer thickness is large in comparison to the volume of the layer. In the ocean, in the absence of other influences such as advection and varying diffusivity, one might expect isopycnic floats released in the upper thermocline to show a similar asymmetric behavior.
WOCE, ISOPYCNALS, OCEAN EDDIES, TRACERS, ADVECTION, DIFFUSION
0022-3670
2086-2095
Lee, M-M.
1b073ef1-2eb9-45a6-862b-8dd8cb3df52d
Lee, M-M.
1b073ef1-2eb9-45a6-862b-8dd8cb3df52d

Lee, M-M. (2002) Lagrangian motion of particles and tracers on isopycnals. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 32 (7), 2086-2095. (doi:10.1175/1520-0485(2002)032<2086:LMOPAT>2.0.CO;2).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This study looks at the behavior of fluid particles/parcels that move along isopycnic surfaces. The aim is to show that the diffusive process of mixing by eddies causes such particles to move toward regions of greater isopycnic layer thickness or, equivalently, weaker stratification.

This is illustrated using a wind-driven eddy-resolving isopycnic layer model in a zonal channel configuration. Particles and tracers are integrated to demonstrate that their centers of mass move up the layer thickness gradient. In particular, a field of uniformly distributed particles is seen to move toward regions of large layer thickness, so the distribution of particles becomes asymmetric. The asymmetry is most obvious when the gradient of layer thickness is large in comparison to the volume of the layer. In the ocean, in the absence of other influences such as advection and varying diffusivity, one might expect isopycnic floats released in the upper thermocline to show a similar asymmetric behavior.

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More information

Published date: 2002
Keywords: WOCE, ISOPYCNALS, OCEAN EDDIES, TRACERS, ADVECTION, DIFFUSION

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 6039
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/6039
ISSN: 0022-3670
PURE UUID: e2de8ab8-87ff-49d6-8406-f1075b2cbd96

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Date deposited: 09 Jun 2004
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 12:46

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Author: M-M. Lee

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