Lagrangian velocity statistics of directed launch strategies in a Gulf of Mexico model
Abstract. The spatial dependence of Lagrangian displacement and velocity statistics is studied in the context of a data assimilating numerical model of the Gulf Mexico. In the active eddy region of the Western Gulf, a combination of Eulerian and Lagrangian measures are used to locate strongly hyperbolic regions of the flow. The statistics of the velocity field sampled by sets of drifters launched specifically in these hyperbolic regions are compared to those produced by randomly chosen launch sites. The results show that particle trajectories initialized in hyperbolic regions preferentially sample a broader range of Eulerian velocities than do members of ensembles of randomly launched drifters. The velocity density functions produced by the directed launches compare well with Eulerian velocity pdfs. Implications for the development of launch strategies to improve Eulerian velocity field reconstruction from drifter data are discussed.