Lagrangian altimetry for open ocean environmental applications (LAECOS)
Event: 2020 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting (virtual)
Session: Salient results from the 2017-2020 OSTST PIs
Presentation type: Type Forum only
Besides the possibility of describing circulation features like mesoscale eddies and jets, altimetry can be used to generate particle trajectories and in turn to apply nonlinear methods for estimating stirring properties like kinematic fronts, the origin of water parcels, transport barriers, retentive regions, etc. The main advantage of this “Lagrangian altimetry” is that the Lagrangian information computed in this way can act as a “glue” between the velocity field and the tracers that are advected, with special interest for ecological and conservation applications. For instance, the identification of a connecting pathway between an open ocean area and a source of nutrient for phytoplankton can be used to explain a possible zone of ecological interest, which can merit conservation attention. Here we present some examples of this approach from our project “LAECOS: Lagrangian altimetry for open ocean environmental applications: ecological hotspots and contaminants' spreading”. Some results we obtained are the elucidation of the role of hydrothermal vents on the phytoplanktonic blooms of the Southern Ocean, the identification of foraging grounds for marine predators downstream of seamounts in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and the scientific support to the inclusion of the Kerguelen and Crozet Exclusive Economic Zones to the UNESCO World Heritage List.