U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Lagrangian Ocean Analysis: Fundamentals and Practices
Published: November 24, 2017
Posted: April 10, 2018


A water cycle fate and transport analysis opportunity using cross-component Lagrangian particle tracking.

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

The 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 cycle derived from the coupled climate system.

Contacts (BER PM)
Dorothy Koch
Earth System Modeling
Dorothy.Koch@science.doe.gov

PI Contact

Phillip J. Wolfram
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Funding
Funding was provided by the Earth System Modeling program through the Energy Exascale Earth System Modeling (E3SM) project within the DOE Office of Science Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

Publications
van Sebille, E., S.M. Griffies, R. Abernathey, et al. "Lagrangian Ocean Analysis: Fundamentals and Practices." Ocean Modelling 121, 49 - 75 (2018). [DOI:10.1016/j.ocemod.2017.11.008]

Related Links
"Lagrangian Ocean Analysis: Fundamentals and Practices."

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

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