Horizontal transport and dispersion in the surface layer of a medium-sized lake

Stocker, Roman, Jörg Imberger

Limnol. Oceanogr., 48(3), 2003, 971-982 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2003.48.3.0971

ABSTRACT: Lagrangian GPS drifter experiments, carried out in the surface layer of stratified Lake Kinneret (Israel), are presented. Differential kinematic properties and Lagrangian statistics were calculated and used to estimate the dominant mechanisms for horizontal dispersion. On time scales smaller than a few internal wave periods, internal waves lead to strong divergence and convergence events, causing instantaneous apparent horizontal growth rates that were larger, by up to an order of magnitude, than the actual mean dispersion coefficient. It is shown that the internal wave field modulated the vorticity field so as to satisfy conservation of potential vorticity. On time scales larger than a few internal wave periods, unbounded horizontal shear dispersion was of the same order as the actual mean observed dispersion coefficient (Kxy = 17.1 m2 s-1), while vertical shear dispersion was negligible.

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