Resolution dependent relative dispersion statistics in a hierarchy of ocean models

Andrew C. Poje, Angelique C. Haza, Tamay M. Özgökmen, Marcello G. Magaldi, Zulema D. Garraffo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


In order to determine the effect of Eulerian spatial resolution on the two particle statistics of synthetic drifter trajectories, we examine a hierarchy of ocean models, starting from 2D turbulence simulations, progressing to idealized simulations of a buoyant coastal jet with ROMS, and finally to realistic HYCOM simulations of the Gulf Stream. In each case, particle dispersion at large time and space scales is found to be controlled by energetic meso-scale features of the flow that are relatively insensitive to the resolution of finer scale motions. In all cases, time-distance graphs given in terms of computed Finite Scale Lyapunov Exponents show an expected increase in the extent of exponential scaling with increasing spatial smoothing of the velocity field. The limiting value of the FSLE at small separation distances is found to scale remarkably well with the resolution of Eulerian velocity gradients as given by the average of positive Okubo-Weiss parameter values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-50
Number of pages15
JournalOcean Modelling
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Dispersion
  • Lagrangian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Oceanography
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Atmospheric Science


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