Journal cover Journal topic
Annales Geophysicae An open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Ann. Geophys., 19, 121-129, 2001
http://www.ann-geophys.net/19/121/2001/
doi:10.5194/angeo-19-121-2001
© Author(s) 2001. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
 
31 Jan 2001
Drifter dispersion in the Adriatic Sea: Lagrangian data and chaotic model
G. Lacorata1, E. Aurell2, and A. Vulpiani3 1Dipartimento di Fisica, Università dell’Aquila, Via Vetoio 1, I-67010 Coppito, L’Aquila, Italy, Istituto di Fisica dell’Atmosfera, CNR, Via Fosso del Cavaliere, I-00133 Roma, Italy,
and Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Roma “La Sapienza", Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, I-00185 Roma, Italy
2Department of Mathematics, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
3Istituto Nazionale Fisica della Materia, Unità di Roma 1 and Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Roma “La Sapienza", Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, I-00185 Roma, Italy
Correspondence to: G. Lacorata, (Guglielmo.Lacorata@aquila.infn.it)
Abstract. We analyze characteristics of drifter trajectories from the Adriatic Sea with recently introduced nonlinear dynamics techniques. We discuss how in quasi-enclosed basins, relative dispersion as a function of time, a standard analysis tool in this context, may give a distorted picture of the dynamics. We further show that useful information may be obtained by using two related non-asymptotic indicators, the Finite-Scale Lyapunov Exponent (FSLE) and the Lagrangian Structure Function (LSF), which both describe intrinsic physical properties at a given scale. We introduce a simple chaotic model for drifter motion in this system, and show by comparison with the model that Lagrangian dispersion is mainly driven by advection at sub-basin scales until saturation sets in.

Key words. Oceanography: General (marginal and semi-closed seas) – Oceanography: Physical (turbulence, diffusion, and mixing processes; upper ocean processes)


Citation: Lacorata, G., Aurell, E., and Vulpiani, A.: Drifter dispersion in the Adriatic Sea: Lagrangian data and chaotic model, Ann. Geophys., 19, 121-129, doi:10.5194/angeo-19-121-2001, 2001.
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