Articles | Volume 21, issue 1
Research article
24 Feb 2014
Research article |  | 24 Feb 2014

Lagrangian study of surface transport in the Kuroshio Extension area based on simulation of propagation of Fukushima-derived radionuclides

S. V. Prants, M. V. Budyansky, and M. Yu. Uleysky

Abstract. Lagrangian approach is applied to study near-surface large-scale transport in the Kuroshio Extension area using a simulation with synthetic particles advected by AVISO altimetric velocity field. A material line technique is proposed and applied to find out the origin of water masses in cold-core cyclonic rings pinched off from the jet in summer 2011. Tracking and Lagrangian maps provide the evidence of cross-jet transport. Fukushima-derived caesium isotopes are used as Lagrangian tracers to study transport and mixing in the area a few months after the 11 March 2011 tsunami that caused heavy damage of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP). Tracking maps are computed to trace the origin of water parcels with measured levels of 134Cs and 137Cs concentrations collected during two research vessel (R/V) cruises in June and July 2011 in the large area of the northwest Pacific (Kaeriyama et al., 2013; Buesseler et al., 2012). It is shown that Lagrangian simulations are useful for finding the surface areas that are potentially dangerous due to the risk of radioactive contamination. The results of simulation are supported by tracks of the surface drifters that were deployed in the area.