Persistent Lagrangian transport patterns in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico [article]

M. K. Gough, and F. J. Beron-Vera, and M. J. Olascoaga, and J. Sheinbaum, and J. Juoanno, R. Duran
2017 arXiv   pre-print
Persistent Lagrangian transport patterns at the ocean surface are revealed from Lagrangian Coherent Structures (LCSs) computed from daily climatological surface current velocities in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico (NWGoM). The velocities are produced by a submesoscale permitting regional ocean model of the Gulf of Mexico. The significance of the climatological LCSs (cLCSs) is supported with ensemble-mean drifter density evolutions from simulated and historical satellite-tracked drifter
more » ... ries. A persistent attracting barrier between the NWGoM shelf and the deep ocean is effectively identified by a hook-like pattern associated with groups of overall strongly attracting cLCSs that extend along the shelf break. Localized reductions in the attraction rate along these overall strongly attracting cLCSs proximal to cross-shore oriented cLCSs identify a pathway for potential transport across the shelf break. Groups of overall weakly-attracting cLCSs are not seen to strongly constrain material transport. Tracers originating over the shelf tend to be trapped there by the hook-like pattern as they spread cyclonically. Tracers originating beyond the shelf tend to be initially attracted to the hook-like pattern as they spread anti-cyclonically and eventually over the deep ocean. The findings have important implications for the mitigation of contaminant accidents such as oil spills.
arXiv:1710.04027v1 fatcat:y64dgq374fd3rlld54kh73qd4y