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Quantifying tracer dynamics in moving fluids: a combined Eulerian-Lagrangian approach

Abstract : Eulerian models coupling physics and biology provide a powerful tool for the study of marine systems, complementing and synthesizing in situ observations and in vitro experiments. With the monotonic improvements in computing resources, models can now resolve increasingly complex biophysical interactions. Quantifying complex mechanisms of interaction produces massive amounts of numerical data that often require specialized tools for analysis. Here we present an Eulerian-Lagrangian approach to analyzing tracer dynamics in moving fluids. As an example of its utility, we apply this tool to quantifying plankton dynamics in oceanic mesoscale coherent structures. In contrast to Eulerian frameworks, Lagrangian approaches are particularly useful for revealing physical pathways, and the dynamics and distributions of tracers along these trajectories. Using a well-referenced Lagrangian tool, we develop a method to assess the variability of biogeochemical properties (computed using an Eulerian model) along particle trajectories. We discuss the limitations of this new method, given the different biogeochemical and physical timescales at work in the Eulerian framework. We also use Lagrangian trajectories to track coherent structures such as eddies, and we analyze the dynamics of the local ecosystem using two techniques: (i) estimating biogeochemical properties along trajectories, and (ii) averaging biogeochemical properties over dynamic regions (e.g., the eddy core) defined by ensembles of similar trajectories. This hybrid approach, combining Eulerian and Lagrangian model analyses, enhances the quantification and understanding of the complex planktonic ecosystem responses to environmental forcings; it can be easily applied to the dynamics of any tracer in a moving fluid.
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Contributor : Françoise Pinsard <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 3:43:11 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 11:12:05 AM

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Fanny Chenillat, Bruno Blanke, Nicolas Grima, Peter J. S. Franks, Xavier Capet, et al.. Quantifying tracer dynamics in moving fluids: a combined Eulerian-Lagrangian approach. Frontiers in Environmental Science, Frontiers, 2015, 3, pp.43. ⟨10.3389/fenvs.2015.00043⟩. ⟨hal-01233678⟩



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