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Lagrangian motion of particles and tracers on isopycnals

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

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Abstract/Summary

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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1175/1520-0485(2002)032<2086:LMOPAT>2.0.CO;2
ISSN: 0022-3670
Additional Keywords: WOCE, ISOPYCNALS, OCEAN EDDIES, TRACERS, ADVECTION, DIFFUSION
Date made live: 09 Jun 2004 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/106039

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