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34th International Liège Colloquium on Ocean Dynamics : Tracer Methods in Geophysical Fluids Dynamics

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    Eventtype: Conference/Workshop
    Period: 2002-05-06 - 2002-05-10
    Location: University of Liège, Sart-Tilman, Belgium
    Contact:

Institute  Top | URL 
  • Université de Liège; GeoHydrodynamics and Environmental Research group (GHER), more, organiser

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Description:
    Natural processes or man's activities introduce into the ocean and the atmosphere constituents - or tracers - that are transported subsequently at various time and space scales. Decades of measurements have generated huge data sets of the concentration of some of these tracers. Dealing with these figures is far from trivial, the main reason thereof being that there are so many of them. This is why specific methods have been designed for handling, validating and intercomparing these data. The latter are now routinely used for calibrating and validating - often in qualitative manner only - dynamic models. Recently, tracer methods have been developed for obtaining quantitative information about marine flows from tracer data, which include inverse methods allowing the circulation to be inferred from tracer and density data. Other methods aim at diagnosing certain aspects of the circulation in the ocean or the stratosphere by using in situ measurements of tracer concentration or numerically simulating the fate of natural or artificial tracers. On occasions, timescale are determined, such as ages, transit times or residence times, leading to an improved understanding of the dynamics of the system under study.

    The above-mentioned techniques all require the knowledge of tracer concentration fields and raise the following questions:

    • What can be inferred from tracer concentration measurements or simulation ?

    • What is the impact of subgrid-scale phenomena ?

    • How important is temporal and spatial variability ?

    • What are the errors associated with tracer methods ?

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