Nonlinear dynamics insights into ``golden tides'' in the Caribbean Sea

Francisco Javier Beron-Vera (U Miami)

May 02. 2023, 11:15 — 12:00

We identify effective carriers of Sargassum in the Caribbean Sea and describe a mechanism for coastal choking. Revealed from satellite 
altimetry, the carriers of Sargassum are mesoscale eddies (vortices of  50-km radius or larger) with coherent material (i.e., fluid) boundaries. These are observer-independent---unlike eddy boundaries identified with instantaneously closed streamlines of the altimetric sea-surface height field---and furthermore harbor finite-time attractors for networks of elastically connected finite-size buoyant or ``inertial'' particles dragged by ocean currents and winds, a mathematical abstraction of Sargassum rafts. The mechanism of coastal inundation, identified using a minimal model of surface-intensified Caribbean Sea eddies, is thermal instability in the presence of bottom topography.

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Further Information
ESI Boltzmann Lecture Hall
Associated Event:
The Dynamics of Planetary-scale Fluid Flows (Thematic Programme)
Adrian Constantin (U of Vienna)
David Dritschel (U of St Andrews)
Nathan Paldor (HU of Jerusalem)