Atmosphere Ocean Science Colloquium

Applying dynamical systems techniques to identify Lagrangian Coherent Structures from real ocean drifters

Speaker: Irina Rypina, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Location: Online

Date: Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 3:30 p.m.


Seven commonly used dynamical systems techniques for identifying Lagrangian Coherent Structures (LCSs) were applied to a data set comprised of trajectories of 135 ocean surface drifters released nearly simultaneously as part of the SPLASH massive drifter experiment in the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, we estimated finite-time Lyapunov exponents, trajectory path lengths, trajectory correlation dimensions, trajectory encounter volumes, Lagrangian-averaged vorticity deviations, dilation, and spectral clusters based on real drifters. The same seven quantities were then computed for the simulated drifters in a high-resolution numerical model in order to assess the reliability of the real-drifter based LCSs estimates and to compare and contrast the real- and simulated-drifter-based results. Overall, our analysis suggested that with a carefully planned and executed deployment of about 100 drifters, the techniques from the dynamical systems theory can be successfully applied to map out the dominant coherent features within the release domain spanned by the drifters