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Free Content Lagrangian spin parameter and coherent structures from trajectories released in a high-resolution ocean model

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A study of the mesoscale eddy field in the presence of coherent vortices, by means of Lagrangian trajectories released in a high-resolution ocean model, is presented in this paper. The investigation confirms previous results drawn from real float data statistics (Veneziani et al., 2004) that the eddy field characteristics are due to the superposition of two distinct regimes associated with strong coherent vortices and with a typically more quiescent background eddy flow. The former gives rise to looping trajectories characterized by subdiffusivity properties due to the trapping effect of the vortices, while the latter produces nonlooping floats characterized by simple diffusivity features. Moreover, the present work completes the study by Veneziani et al. (2004) in regard to the nature of the spin parameter Ω, which was used in the Lagrangian stochastic model that best described the observed eddy statistics.

The main result is that the spin obtained from the looping trajectories not only represents a good estimate of the relative vorticity of the vortex core in which the loopers are embedded, but it is also able to follow the vortex temporal evolution. The Lagrangian parameter Ω is then directly connected to the underlying Eulerian structure and could be used as a proxy for the relative vorticity field of coherent vortices.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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