18 January 2018

Lagrangian Ocean Analysis: Fundamentals and Practices

A water Cycle Fate and Transport Analysis Opportunity Using Cross-Component Lagrangian Particle Tracking

Science

This paper reviews simulation and analysis of oceanic Lagrangian data, e.g., fluid trajectories and properties studied within a flow-following coordinate system. 

Impact

Lagrangian analysis is just starting to be widely applied in ocean models used in climate models in an in-situ online context, e.g., via Lagrangian In-situ Global High-performance particle Tracking (LIGHT) in the Model for Prediction Across Scales-Ocean (MPAS) in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM).  A high-impact analysis opportunity highlighted by this community-based review is the use of Lagrangian trajectories to understand water cycle dynamics in a coupled context by tracking water mass trajectories within the evolution the water cycled derived from the coupled climate system.

Summary

This paper reviews simulation and analysis capabilities and techniques for oceanic Lagrangian data, e.g.., fluid trajectories and properties studied within a flow-following coordinate system.  It documents the state of the art capabilities in Lagrangian particle tracking in community efforts, e.g., online particle tracking via Lagrangian In-situ Global High-performance particle Tracking (LIGHT) in the Model for Prediction Across Scales-Ocean (MPAS) in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM).  Lagrangian analysis techniques are also discussed, e.g., ocean mixing (diffusivity) computations using particle trajectories.  The paper indicates that high-performance particle tracking capabilities are rare, but available in E3SM’s LIGHT (starting in MPAS-O).  The paper concludes by pointing to a future application of Lagrangian analysis for global water cycle fate and transport analysis, i.e., use of Lagrangian trajectories to understand water cycle dynamics in a coupled context by tracking water mass trajectories within the evolution the water cycled derived from the coupled climate system.

Contact
Phillip J. Wolfram
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Funding
Publications
van Sebille, E., Griffies, S., Abernathey, R., et al. "Lagrangian Ocean Analysis: Fundamentals and Practices." Ocean Modelling 121, 49 - 75 (2018). [10.1016/j.ocemod.2017.11.008].