LIDAR and Numerical Modeling Studies of Small-Scale Lateral Dispersion in the Ocean
LONG-TERM GOALS Our long-term goal is to better understand lateral mixing processes in the ocean on scales of 10 m to 10 km, i.e., the "submesoscale". We aim to understand the underlying mechanisms and forcing, as well as the temporal, spatial, and scale variability of such mixing. This research will contribute to fundamental knowledge of ocean dynamics at these scales, and to efforts to properly parameterize sub-grid scale mixing and stirring in numerical models. Ultimately our research will
... our research will also enhance modeling and understanding of upper ocean ecosystems, since the flow of nutrients and plankton depends on stirring and mixing at these scales. OBJECTIVES One objective of our work is to determine the extent to which shear dispersion -the interaction of vertical mixing with vertical shear -can explain lateral dispersion at scales of 10 m to 10 km. A second objective is to determine whether slow but persistent vortices enhance the stirring attributable to shear dispersion. We also share the overall objectives of the Lateral Mixing DRI to try to determine the extent to which submesoscale stirring is driven by a cascade of energy down (in wavelength) from the mesoscale, versus a propagation of energy upwards from small mixing events (e.g., via generation of vortices). A key technical goal of our work is to develop the use of airborne LIDAR surveys of evolving dye experiments as a tool for studying submesoscale lateral dispersion. This annual report marks the end of year 5 of a 5 year study as part of the "Scalable Lateral Mixing and Coherent Turbulence" (a.k.a., LatMix) DRI. The main effort of the present work is a collaboration between J. Ledwell and E. Terray (WHOI), M. Sundermeyer (UMass Dartmouth), and B. Concannon (NAVAIR). This project is also being performed jointly with a collaborative NSF grant to J. Ledwell, E. Terray, and M. Sundermeyer (see "Related Projects" below). ONR support for this work included the airborne LIDAR operations as well as a substantial part of the field operations and analysis. Report Documentation Page Form Approved OMB No. 0704-0188 Public reporting burden for the collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington VA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to a penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if it does not display a currently valid OMB control number.