This study examines anisotropic transport properties of the eddying North Atlantic flow, using an idealized model of the double-gyre oceanic circulation and altimetry-derived velocities. The material transport by the time-dependent flow (quantified by the eddy diffusivity tensor) varies geographically and is anisotropic, that is, it has a well-defined direction of the maximum transport. One component of the time-dependent flow, zonally elongated large-scale transients, is particularly important for the anisotropy, as it corresponds to primarily zonal material transport and long correlation time scales. The importance of these large-scale zonal transients in the material distribution is further confirmed with simulations of idealized color dye tracers, which has implications for parameterizations of the eddy transport in non-eddy-resolving models.
- Lagrangian circulation/transport
- Mesoscale processes
- Models and modeling
- Ocean circulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas