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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-83
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-83
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  31 Aug 2020

31 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Sensitive dependence of trajectories on tracer seeding positions – coherent structures in German Bight surface drift simulations

Ulrich Callies Ulrich Callies
  • Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Str. 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany

Abstract. Backward drift simulations can aid the interpretation of in situ monitoring data. Some trajectories, however, are sensitive to even small changes of the tracer release position. A corresponding spread of backward simulations implies convergence in the forward passage of time. Such uncertainty about the probed water body's origin complicates the interpretation of measurements. This study examines surface drift simulations in the German Bight (North Sea). Lines across which drift behaviour changes non-smoothly are obtained as ridges in the fields of the finite-time Lyapunov exponent (FTLE), a parameter used in dynamical systems theory to identify Lagrangian coherent structures (LCS). Results are shown to closely resemble those obtained considering a) two-particle relative dispersion and b) the average divergence of Eulerian velocities that tracers experience. Structures observed in simulated sea surface temperature and salinity further corroborate the FTLE results.

Ulrich Callies

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Ulrich Callies

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Latest update: 30 Nov 2020
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Short summary
An analysis of simulated German Bight surface currents reveals linear structures along which water bodies of different origin converge. Identification of these non-stationary structures supports the interpretation of monitoring data; observations gathered at stations that are neighbouring but separated by a line of convergence may substantially differ. The analysis could also be helpful for organizing field campaigns such that new observations do not just duplicate information already available.
An analysis of simulated German Bight surface currents reveals linear structures along which...
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