Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Surface drifter pair spreading in the North Atlantic

By Rick Lumpkin and Shane Elipot

Abstract

This study examines spreading of surface drifter pairs deployed as part of the CLIVAR Mode Water Dynamic Experiment (CLIMODE) project in the Gulf Stream region. The spreading is resolved at hourly resolution and quantified by relative dispersion and finite-scale Lyapunov exponents. At scales from 1-3 km to 300-500 km, the dispersion follows Richardson's law, indicating stirring by eddies comparable in scale to the pair separation distance. At larger scales, the spreading becomes a random walk described by a constant diffusivity. The behavior from 1-3 km to the local deformation radius is inconsistent with the enstrophy cascade of 2-D quasigeostrophic turbulence. To test various hypotheses for this result, drifter pair spreading is examined for pairs that were not launched together, pairs deployed in the eastern subtropical North Atlantic, and CLIMODE pairs subsampled to daily temporal resolution. Our results indicate the presence of significant energy at the submesoscale in the Gulf Stream region which flattens the wave number spectrum and dominates surface stirring at this scale range. Results in the less energetic subtropical eastern Atlantic are more equivoca

Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1029/2010JC006338
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:13623

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1987). A Lagrangian analysis of turbulent diffusion,
  2. (2004). A mean dynamic topography computed over the world ocean from altimetry, in situ measurements, and a geoid model ,
  3. (2006). A theory for the atmospheric energy spectrum: Depth‐limited temperature anomalies at the tropopause, doi
  4. (1998). An improved mapping method of multisatellite altimeter data,
  5. (1926). Atmospheric diffusion on a distance‐neighbour graph,
  6. (2008). Cyclonic and anticyclonic motion in the upper ocean, doi
  7. (2005). de Verdière
  8. (1921). Diffusion by continuous movements,
  9. (2008). Do altimeter spectra agree with the interior or surface quasigeostrophic theory?,
  10. (2004). Drifter‐derived maps of lateral diffusivity in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in relation to surface circulation patterns, doi
  11. (2006). Dynamics of the upper oceanic layers in terms of surface quasigeostrophic theory,
  12. (2002). Dysthe doi
  13. (1998). Geographical variability of the first‐barolinic Rossby radius of deformation,
  14. (1971). Geostrophic turbulence,
  15. (2002). Inertial instability and sea spirals,
  16. (1967). Inertial ranges of two dimensional turbulenct,
  17. (2002). Lagrangian eddy scales in the northern Atlantic Ocean,
  18. (2007). Measuring surface currents with Surface Velocity Program drifters: The instrument, its data and some recent results,
  19. (1948). Note on eddy diffusion in the sea,
  20. (2008). Observing oceanic submesoscale processes from space, Eos Trans. doi
  21. (2008). Oceanic mesoscale eddies as revealed by Lagrangian coherent structures,
  22. (1982). On relating Eulerian and Lagrangian velocity statistics: Single particles in homogeneous flows, doi
  23. (2001). On the skewness of vorticity in the upper ocean,
  24. (2003). Organization of near‐inertial energy by an eddy field,
  25. Orvik (2009), Relative dispersion in the Nordic Seas,
  26. (2006). Potential use of microwave sea surface temperatures for the estimation of ocean currents, doi
  27. (1997). Predictability in the large: An extension of the concept of Lyapunov exponent,
  28. (2009). Quasigeostrophic turbulence with explicit surface dynamics: Application to the atmospheric energy spectrum, doi
  29. (1981). Relative diffusion of constant‐level balloons in the Southern Hemisphere, doi
  30. (2003). Relative dispersion at the surface of the Gulf of Mexico,
  31. (2008). Relative dispersion from a high‐resolution coastal model of the Adriatic sea,
  32. (2000). Relative dispersion in the subsurface North Atlantic,
  33. (1974). Relative dispersion of constant‐ level balloons in the 200 mb general circulation,
  34. (1984). Relative dispersion: Local and nonlocal dynamics,
  35. (2008). Spectral description of near‐surface variabili ty, doi
  36. (2000). Spirals on the sea,
  37. (2008). Statistics from Lagrangian observations,
  38. (1984). Stirring by chaotic advection,
  39. (2008). Stirring in the global surface ocean, doi
  40. (2008). Submesoscale processes and dynamics, in Ocean Modeling in an Eddying Regime,
  41. (1985). Submesoscale, coherent vortices in the ocean,
  42. (2008). Surface kinetic energy transfer in surface quasi‐geostrophic flows,
  43. (2009). The CLIMODE field campaign: Observing the cycle of convection and restratification over the Gulf Stream,
  44. (1941). The local structure of turbulence in incompressible viscous fluid for very large reynolds numbers,
  45. (2001). The world ocean surface circulation, in Ocean Circulation and Climate: Observing and Modelling the Global Ocean,
  46. (1962). Theories of turbulent dispersion,
  47. (2008). Three‐dimensional reconstruction of oceanic mesoscale currents from surface information, doi
  48. (1999). Transport by coherent barotropic vortices,
  49. (1978). Uniform potential vorticity flow: Part I. Theory of wave interactions and two‐dimensional turbulence,
  50. (2008). Upper ocean turbulence from high‐resolution 3D simulations,
  51. (2001). Vortex pairing in an unstable anticyclonic shear flow: discrete subharmonics of one pendulum day, doi
  52. (1987). Water‐following characteristics of a mixed‐layer drifter, Deep Sea Res.
  53. (2010). Wavenumber spectrum in the Gulf Stream from shipboard ADCP observations and comparisons with altimetry measurements, doi
  54. (2009). What vertical mode does the altimeter reflect? On the decomposition in baroclinic modes and on a surface‐trapped mode,
  55. (1995). Wind‐driven motions in the northeast Pacific as measured by Lagrangian drifters,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.