Lagrangian and Eulerian lateral diffusivities in zonal jets.

Riha, Stefan and Eden, Carsten (2011) Lagrangian and Eulerian lateral diffusivities in zonal jets. Ocean Modelling, 39 (1-2). pp. 114-124. DOI 10.1016/j.ocemod.2011.02.002.

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Meridional diffusivities from Lagrangian particle dispersion and Eulerian diffusivities from a flux-gradient relationship are estimated in an idealized primitive equation channel model featuring eddy-driven zonal jets.

The Eulerian estimate shows an increase with depth and clear minima of meridional diffusivities within the zonal jets, indicating mixing barriers. The Lagrangian estimates agree with the Eulerian method on the vertical variation and also show indications of meridional mimima, although meridional variations are poorly resolved. We found early maxima in the particle spreading rates which should not be related to diffusivities since they are caused by the meandering zonal jets. The meanders also produce rotational eddy fluxes, which can obscure the Eulerian diffusivity estimates.

Zonal particle dispersion rates do not converge within the chosen lag interval, because of shear dispersion by the mean flow, i.e. it is not possible to estimate Lagrangian zonal diffusivities representative for regions of similar size of the zonal jet spacing. Removing the zonal mean flow, zonal and meridional dispersion rates converge and show much higher zonal than meridional diffusivities. Further, the pronounced vertical increase and indications of meridional minima in the Lagrangian meridional diffusivities disappear, pointing towards the importance of shear dispersion by the mean flow for the suppression of meridional mixing by zonal jets. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-TM Theory and Modeling
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.ocemod.2011.02.002
ISSN: 1463-5003
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2012 14:27
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 12:42

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