Biological Impact of Ocean Transport: A Finite-Size Lyapunov Characterization

Hernandez-Garcia, E.; Bettencourt, J.H.; Garcon, V.; Hernandez-Carrasco, I.; Lopez, C.; Rossi, V.; Sudre, J.; Tew Kai, E.
Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Nonlinear Science and Complexity, Ankara, July 2010 (Ed. by D. Baleanu, Z.B. Guvenc and O. Defterli),, , Article Number 54 (2010)

The Lagrangian description of fluid transport has been largely
enriched with the introduction of stretching quantifiers such
as the different types of Lyapunov exponents. Here we will
focus on the finite-size Lyapunov exponent case, as applied to
horizontal ocean flows estimated from satellite altimetry. The
influence on biological organisms of the structures revealed by
the Lyapunov analysis will be illustrated with examples from
the bottom and from the top of marine ecosystems: the
distribution of phytoplankton in ocean upwelling areas, and the
trajectories of frigatebirds in the West Indian Ocean, which
fly on top of the ridges of Lyapunov structures. The
convenience of moving from a two-dimensional to a fully
three-dimensional description is highlighted.

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