Lagrangian Statistics from Oceanic and Atmospheric Observations

  • J. H. LaCasce
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 744)


We review statistical analyses made with Lagrangian data from the atmosphere and ocean. The focus is on the types of measures used and on how the results reflect the underlying dynamics. First we discuss how the most common measures come about and how they are related to one another. The measures can be subdivided into those concerning single particles and those pertaining to groups of particles. Single particle analysis is more typical with oceanic data. The most widely-used such analysis involves binning velocities geographically to estimate characteristics of the Eulerian flow, such as the mean velocities and the diffusivities. Single particle statistics have also been used to study Rossby wave propagation, the sensitivity to bottom topography and eddy heat fluxes. The dispersion of particle pairs has been studied more in the atmosphere, although examples in the oceanic literature have also appeared recently. Pair dispersion at sub-deformation scales is similar in the two systems, with particle separations growing exponentially in time. The larger scale behavior varies, possibly reflecting details of the large scale shear flow. Analyses involving three or more particles are fairly rare but have been used to measure divergence and vorticity, as well as turbulent dispersion.


Relative Dispersion Probability Density Function Gulf Stream Residual Velocity Local Dispersion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. LaCasce
    • 1
  1. 1.Department for GeosciencesNorwegian Meteorological Institute University of OsloNorway

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