skip to main content


Title: Computing eddy-driven effective diffusivity using Lagrangian particles

A novel method to derive effective diffusivity from Lagrangian particle trajectory data sets is developed and then analyzed relative to particle-derived meridional diffusivity for eddy-driven mixing in an idealized circumpolar current. Quantitative standard dispersion- and transport-based mixing diagnostics are defined, compared and contrasted to motivate the computation and use of effective diffusivity derived from Lagrangian particles. We compute the effective diffusivity by first performing scalar transport on Lagrangian control areas using stored trajectories computed from online Lagrangian In-situ Global High-performance particle Tracking (LIGHT) using the Model for Prediction Across Scales Ocean (MPAS-O). Furthermore, the Lagrangian scalar transport scheme is compared against an Eulerian scalar transport scheme. Spatially-variable effective diffusivities are computed from resulting time-varying cumulative concentrations that vary as a function of cumulative area. The transport-based Eulerian and Lagrangian effective diffusivity diagnostics are found to be qualitatively consistent with the dispersion-based diffusivity. All diffusivity estimates show a region of increased subsurface diffusivity within the core of an idealized circumpolar current and results are within a factor of two of each other. The Eulerian and Lagrangian effective diffusivities are most similar; smaller and more spatially diffused values are obtained with the dispersion-based diffusivity computed with particle clusters.
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1463-5003
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Ocean Modelling
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 118; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1463-5003
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC). Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; Earth Sciences; effective diffusivity; Lagrangian particle tracking; online diagnostics; MPAS-O; LIGHT
OSTI Identifier: