- In-situ estimate of submesoscale horizontal eddy diffusion coefficients across a front. hal link

Auteur(s): Nencioli F.(Corresp.), D'Ovidio Francesco, Doglioli A., Petrenko A.

Conference: EGU General Assembly 2013 (Vienne, AT, 2013-04-07)
Actes de conférence: Geophysical Research Abstracts, vol. 15 p.EGU2013-8237-2 (2013)

Ref HAL: hal-00807797_v1
Exporter : BibTex | endNote

Fronts, jets and eddies are ubiquitous features of the world oceans, and play a key role in regulating energy budget, heat transfer, horizontal and vertical transport, and biogeochemical processes. Although recent advances in computational power have favored the analysis of mesoscale and submesoscale dynamics from high-resolution numerical simulations, studies from in-situ observations are still relatively scarce. The small dimensions and short duration of such structures still pose major challenges for fine-scale dedicated field experiments. As a consequence, in-situ quantitative estimates of key physical parameters for high-resolution numerical models, such as horizontal eddy diffusion coefficients, are still lacking. The Latex10 campaign (September 1-24, 2010), within the LAgrangian Transport EXperiment (LATEX), adopted an adaptive sampling strategy that included satellite data, ship-based current measurements, and iterative Lagrangian drifter releases to successfully map coherent transport structures in the western Gulf of Lion. Comparisons with AVHRR imagery evidenced that the detected structures were associated with an intense frontal feature, originated by the convergence and subsequent stirring of colder coastal waters with warmer open-sea waters. We present a method for computing horizontal eddy diffusion coefficients by combining the stirring rates estimated from the Lagrangian drifter trajectories with the shapes of the surface temperature and salinity gradient (assumed to be at the equilibrium) from the ship thermosalinograph. The average value we obtained from various sections across the front is 2.5 m2s