Articles | Volume 21, issue 3
Research article
18 Jun 2014
Research article |  | 18 Jun 2014

Lagrangian descriptors and the assessment of the predictive capacity of oceanic data sets

C. Mendoza, A. M. Mancho, and S. Wiggins

Abstract. We use a recently developed Lagrangian transport tool, Lagrangian descriptors, to compare the transport properties of data distributed by AVISO and numerical simulations obtained from the HYCOM model in the Yucatán–Florida current system. Our data correspond to the months from June through August 2010. Structures obtained from HYCOM are noisier than those from AVISO; however, both AVISO and HYCOM succeed in identifying Lagrangian structures that influence the paths of drifters, such as eddies, currents, lobes, etc. We find evidence in which AVISO gives the positions of important hyperbolic trajectories in a manner that is inconsistent with the trajectories of the drifters, while for the same examples HYCOM succeeds to this end.