Peer-reviewed articles using Parcels

Shellfish aquaculture is of great importance in offering a sustainable food source, thus playing a major role towards achieving food security and nutrition, employment, and economic development in coastal areas. Mussel aquaculture, in particular, offers a substantial development opportunity for Black Sea riparian countries; however, a significant attention must be given to zoo-sanitary conditions and public health, considering the filter-feeding behaviour of these organisms. With the involvement of GFCM’s Aquaculture Demonstrative Center (hosted by NIMRD), the microbiological classification of bivalve mollusk production and relaying areas in Romania was performed. Yet, the regular monitoring of these areas is not enough to prevent accidental contamination of shellfish farms, in case a potential harmful discharge from a wastewater treatment plant occurs. In this context, the goal of our research was to develop a prediction tool, focused on an early warning system of any possibly microbiologically loaded water discharge (Escherichia coli), using a downscaling of CMEMS Earth Observation data and in situ validation. The developed service module can give farmers the ability to predict a potential harmful outbreak and decide to harvest earlier or later and/or keep the mussels in a purification tank before marketing, in order to avoid any possible E. coli contaminated harvest to be put on the market involuntarily.

West Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss is a major source of uncertainty in sea level projections. The primary driver of this melting is oceanic heat from Circumpolar Deep Water originating offshore in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Yet, in assessing melt variability, open ocean processes have received considerably less attention than those governing cross-shelf exchange. Here, we use Lagrangian particle release experiments in an ocean model to investigate the pathways by which Circumpolar Deep Water moves toward the continental shelf across the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. We show that Ross Gyre expansion, linked to wind and sea ice variability, increases poleward heat transport along the gyre’s eastern limb and the relative fraction of transport toward the Amundsen Sea. Ross Gyre variability, therefore, influences oceanic heat supply toward the West Antarctic continental slope. Understanding remote controls on basal melt is necessary to predict the ice sheet response to anthropogenic forcing.

The tropical Pacific Ocean is characterized by its dominant zonal flow, strong climate dependence on the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and abundant tuna stocks. Tuna fisheries in the West and Central Pacific Ocean accounted for 55 % of the world-wide tuna catch in 2019 and are one of the main sources of income in many Pacific island nations. One of the dominant fishing methods in this region relies on the use of drifting fish aggregating devices (dFADs): rafts with long underwater appendages (on average 50 m deep) that aggregate fish. Although currents such as the North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC) and South Equatorial Current (SEC) in the tropical Pacific Ocean vary strongly with ENSO, little is known about the impact of this variability in flow on dFAD dispersion. In this study, virtual Lagrangian particles are tracked for the period 2006 to 2021 over the domain in a 3D hydrodynamic model and are advected in simulations with only surface flow, as well as simulations using a depth-averaged horizontal flow over the upper 50 m, representing virtual dFADs. Zonal displacements, eddy-like behaviour and ENSO variability are then studied for both types of virtual particles. It was found that virtual particles advected by surface flow only are displaced up to 35 % farther than virtual dFADs subjected to a depth-averaged flow, but no other major differences were found in dispersion patterns. The strongest correlations between ENSO and virtual dFAD dispersion for the assessed variables were found in the West Pacific Ocean, with Pearson correlation coefficients of up to 0.59 for virtual dFAD displacement. Connections between ENSO and eddy-like behaviour were found in the western part of the SEC, indicating more circulation and meandering during El Niño. These findings may be useful for improving sustainable deployment strategies during ENSO events and understanding the ocean processes driving the distribution of dFADs.

Larval dispersal and connectivity are key processes that drive marine metapopulation dynamics, and therefore should be well characterized when designing effective management strategies. While temperature and food availability can structure marine species connectivity patterns, their contribution has not been thoroughly investigated in highly fragmented archipelagos. We used biophysical modeling of larval dispersal to explore the connectivity patterns of species with complex life-cycles across French Polynesia (FP), a territory formed by more than a hundred small, geographically isolated islands covering an area as large as Europe. We first simulated ten years of larval dispersal to investigate the spatial and temporal (seasonal and interannual) variability in larval dispersal pathways for different hypothetical species exhibiting a range of Larval Precompetency Period (LPP) values. Then, using the black-lip pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera) as a model species, we accounted for variability in the LPP induced by temperature and food availability, as derived from a Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model. The model showed that food availability and mesoscale turbulence (eddies) in the Marquesas jointly constrained larval dispersal, reducing its potential connectivity with other archipelagos in FP. The DEB simulations also revealed seasonal and interannual variability in connectivity driven by environmental conditions. However, accounting for food and temperature effects on larval development, barely changed the connectivity pattern at regional scale due to the remoteness of this archipelago. Our study thus provides appropriate management units definition at regional scale for the species across FP.

Coral reefs are in decline worldwide, making it increasingly important to promote coral recruitment in new or degraded habitat. Coral reef morphology—the structural form of reef substrate—affects many aspects of reef function, yet the effect of reef morphology on coral recruitment is not well understood. We used structure-from-motion photogrammetry and airborne remote sensing to measure reef morphology (rugosity, curvature, slope, and fractal dimension) across a broad continuum of spatial scales and evaluated the effect of morphology on coral recruitment in three broadcast-spawning genera. We also measured the effect of other environmental and biotic factors such as fish density, adult coral cover, hydrodynamic larval import, and depth on coral recruitment. All variables combined explained 72% of coral recruitment in the study region. Coarse reef rugosity and curvature mapped at ≥2 m spatial resolution—such as large colonies, knolls, and boulders—were positively correlated with coral recruitment, explaining 22% of variation in recruitment. Morphology mapped at finer scales (≤32 cm resolution) was not significant. Hydrodynamic larval import was also positively related to coral recruitment in Porites and Montipora spp., and grazer fish density was linked to significantly lower recruitment in all genera. In addition, grazer density, reef morphology, and hydrodynamic import had differential effects on coral genera, reflecting genus-specific life history traits, and model performance was lower in gonochoric species. Overall, coral reef morphology is a key indicator of recruitment potential that can be detected by remote sensing, allowing potential larval sinks to be identified and factored into restoration actions.

In this paper, we describe methods to verify the adequacy and accuracy of Lagrangian particles from a Lagrangian model to reproduce the concentrations of a passive tracer from an Eulerian-model in river plumes. The modelling simulates plumes from two major rivers discharging in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, under real-world scenarios. The study has been a part of a major project to aid in the protection of the GBR system from the impacts of extreme events and climate change. We employ the Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) activated with its built-in Lagrangian model, and forced with wind fields from global models and recorded river volume discharges. The ROMS-Lagrangian model tracks the Lagrangian particles using the spatially interpolated velocities computed on the Eulerian ROMS three-dimensional (3D) grid. The Lagrangian particles are released in the river in proportion to the measured river volume flux. We apply a novel technique that exploits Voronoi polygon areas to convert Lagrangian particle separation into a concentration field. This facilitates comparison with the passive tracer concentrations driven by the Eulerian velocities computed on the ROMS 3D grid. We evaluate the fate of Lagrangian particles activated on a 4-km grid resolution with those of equivalent Eulerian tracer concentrations. For validation, we compare the Lagrangian particles with the Eulerian passive tracer simulated using a higher model grid resolution of 500-m, and found that the computed Lagrangian particle concentrations showed similar overall patterns compared to the passive tracer concentrations from both the coarse 4-km, and high-resolution 500-m Eulerian models. The spatial extent of the particles was in better agreement with the coarse 4-km model than with the higher resolution 500-m model. The clustering of particles resulted in structures at finer scales than the Eulerian model, over the high particle density areas that compared well against observations. The Lagrangian particles are able to capture the general river plume patterns seen in the satellite MODIS images and the satellite derived Chlorophyll-a. We further compare the online ROMS model with an offline particle tracker, OceanPARCELS and determined the similarity of results from both online and offline methods. Overall, our study demonstrates the viability to use Lagrangian particles to reproduce the Eulerian tracer properties, which can be combined with particle properties include tracer age providing to enhance the guidance on the distribution and concentration of effluent from localised flooding river events.

Identifying dispersal pathways and critical habitats is essential to evaluate risks and inform effective management strategies of migratory marine species during all life stages. This is especially true for sea turtles that are conservation-dependent and for which management needs usually precedes comprehensive data collection. The aim of this study was to model dispersal pathways (representative of individual behaviour) and compare potential dispersal corridors (representative of population-level behaviour) of hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, and green sea turtles from key rookeries in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) with different dispersal strategies. We used the Sea Turtle Active Movement Model (STAMM) to simulate post-hatchling dispersal under the combined effects of ocean currents and habitat-driven movements. Simulation results confirmed the high connectivity between hatching sites and developmental areas in the WIO; dispersal is mostly driven by ocean currents but differs among species and years with habitat quality also differing among species. Active swimming appeared to have little influence on their dispersal patterns during the first year. We then analysed simulation results using a movement-based kernel density estimation to identify dispersal corridors for each species. There were three distinct dispersal corridors: among equatorial Indian Ocean Islands (hawksbills); along East Africa (green turtles); and around southern Africa (loggerheads and leatherbacks). These results provide a first estimation of the dispersal pathways used by neonate turtles, that are usually lacking in conservation assessments. The results can also assist to develop more targeted management measures like RMU designation or marine spatial planning for the lost years.

Knowledge of microplastic trajectories is useful for a variety of fields ranging from science to commerce. In this research, microplastic trajectories in the upper water column in each season were simulated using Python-based OceanParcels. The simulation domain covers Japan and its surrounding waters. HYCOM current data were used as input for the simulation. The simulation results show that in boreal winter and spring, the trajectory of microplastics tends to move toward the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, in summer and fall, the microplastic trajectory tends to move northward in the waters around Japan. The distribution of microplastics reaches various areas in Japanese waters with the northernmost area reached being Akita Prefecture. Meanwhile, the southernmost area reached is the islands in Kagoshima Prefecture which are close to the Okinawa Islands.

The study of Antarctic first-year sea-ice biogeochemistry has been limited by samples mostly being collected in pack ice during summer, with few winter data available. Measurements from the Antarctic marginal ice zone (AMIZ) have proven even more difficult to obtain. The AMIZ is a broad, circumpolar feature of the Southern Ocean found at different latitudes during the year where light and nutrients are high enough to sustain primary production and influence ecosystem functioning. We present the first biogeochemical data set from growing ice collected in the Atlantic AMIZ during winter 2019, including measurements from young pancake ice (YI) and consolidated first-year ice (FYI). Measurements of sea-ice temperature, salinity, crystal structure, δ18O, chlorophyll, and nutrient concentrations were used to investigate the winter sea-ice habitat and decipher the conditions under which the ice formed and grew. Model simulations support the hypothesis that nutrient accumulation in advancing sea ice cannot be explained by passive seawater entrainment and thermodynamics alone. Our data confirm that winter sea ice is biogeochemically active and accumulates remineralized nutrients. We further propose that mechanical thickening enhances the reservoir of nutrients during the ice growth season. The biogeochemical transition from YI to FYI does not appear to be a linear progression of thickness with habitat space reduction as sea ice consolidates. Instead, FYI bulk biogeochemistry results from multiple cycles of rafting of YI, which conserves the biogeochemical properties of YI in the FYI, ultimately increasing the overall nutrient and chlorophyll content.

Subglacial discharge from the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) likely played a crucial role in the loss of the ice sheet and the subsequent rise in sea level during the last deglaciation. However, no direct proxy is currently available to document subglacial discharge from the AIS, which leaves significant gaps in our understanding of the complex interactions between subglacial discharge and ice-sheet stability. Here we present deep-sea coral 234U/238U records from the Drake Passage in the Southern Ocean to track subglacial discharge from the AIS. Our findings reveal distinctively higher seawater 234U/238U values from 15,400 to 14,000 years ago, corresponding to the period of the highest iceberg-rafted debris flux and the occurrence of the meltwater pulse 1A event. This correlation suggests a causal link between enhanced subglacial discharge, synchronous retreat of the AIS, and the rapid rise in sea levels. The enhanced subglacial discharge and subsequent AIS retreat appear to have been preconditioned by a stronger and warmer Circumpolar Deep Water, thus underscoring the critical role of oceanic heat in driving major ice-sheet retreat.

The expansion of lionfish Pterois miles across the Mediterranean Sea since its introduction via the Suez Canal has been rapid, but the mechanisms by which the expansion occurred have not been fully tested. By using a series of Lagrangian particle tracking simulations and high-resolution hydrodynamic models, we tested the hypothesis that passive dispersal of larvae could explain the east to west expansion of lionfish. By sequentially modelling the annual dispersal of larvae, from the first observation in Lebanon in 2012 and then modelling dispersal of larval from the simulated settlement sites, we showed that passive dispersal driven by ocean currents largely explained the observed expansion of lionfish until 2020. The spread of lionfish was likely restricted by environmental conditions when the population reached the central Mediterranean and the particle tracking simulations diverged from observations. The results emphasize the potential contribution of computational models in understanding the dispersal of non-indigenous and range expanding species in response to changing environmental conditions, identifying high risk areas, and guiding targeted surveillance, early detection, and informing management strategies for such species. Given that many non-indigenous species in the Mediterranean are introduced through a consistent pathway (the Suez Canal), the incorporation of interdisciplinary approaches and high-resolution biophysical models can provide fundamental knowledge for management action prioritization.

A variety of submesoscale coherent vortices (SCVs) in the Kuroshio Extension region have been reported by recent observational studies, and the preliminary understanding of their properties, spatial distribution and possible origins has progressively improved. However, due to relatively sparse in situ observations, the generation mechanisms of these SCVs and associated dynamic processes remain unclear. In this study, we use high-resolution model simulations to fill the gaps of the in situ observations in terms of the three-dimensional structures and life cycles of SCVs. Vortex detection and tracking algorithms are adopted and the characteristics of warm-core and cold-core SCVs are revealed. These vortices have finite Rossby numbers (0.25-0.4) and their horizontal structures can be well described by the Tayler vortex model in terms of the gradient wind balance. The vertical velocity field is characterized by a distinct dipole pattern with upwelling and downwelling cells at the vortex edge. It is very likely that both types of SCVs are generated along the eastern Japan coast through flow–topography interactions, and the Izu–Ogasawara Ridge and Hokkaido slope are found to be two important generation sites where topography friction produces extremely low potential vorticity. After leaving the boundary, SCVs can propagate over long distances and trap a water volume of ~1011 m3.

The increase in genetic distance between marine individuals or populations with increasing distance has often been assumed to be influenced by dispersal distance. In turn, dispersal distance has often been assumed to correlate strongly with pelagic larval duration (PLD). We examined the consistency of these assumptions in species with long planktonic durations. Reviewing multiple marine species, Selkoe & Toonen (2011; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 436:291-305) demonstrated significant fit of a species’ PLD with metrics of genetic distance between sampling sites. However, for long dispersers (PLD >10 d) whose dispersal is more influenced by ocean currents, the fit of PLD and genetic connectivity metrics was not significant. We tested if using realistic ocean currents to determine simulated dispersal distances would produce an improved proxy for larval dispersal that correlates more strongly with genetic connectivity metrics. We estimated the dispersal distance of propagules for locations in the genetic studies compiled by Selkoe and Toonen with a global ocean model (Mercator, 1/12° resolution). The model-derived estimates of dispersal distance did not correlate better than PLD against the genetic diversity metrics global FST km-1 and isolation-by-distance (IBD) slope. We explored 2 explanations: (1) our ocean circulation-based dispersal distance estimates are too simple to produce biologically meaningful improvement over PLD, and (2) IBD slope is not a powerful predictor of variation in dispersal distance between species with long PLD. Exploring these explanations suggests directions for future research which will enable better quantitative understanding of genetic diversity and its spatial distribution in coastal marine organisms.

Reconstructions of Lagrangian drift, for example for objects lost at sea, are often uncertain due to unresolved physical phenomena within the data. Uncertainty is usually overcome by introducing stochasticity into the drift, but this approach requires specific assumptions for modelling uncertainty. We remove this constraint by presenting a purely data-driven framework for modelling probabilistic drift in flexible environments. Using ocean circulation model simulations, we generate probabilistic trajectories of object location by simulating uncertainty in the initial object position. We train an emulator of probabilistic drift over one day given perfectly known velocities and observe good agreement with numerical simulations. Several loss functions are tested. Then, we strain our framework by training models where the input information is imperfect. On these harder scenarios, we observe reasonable predictions although the effects of data drift become noticeable when evaluating the models against unseen flow scenarios.

The influences of sea surface wind on the oceanic mesoscale eddy are complex. By integrating our self-developed surface drifters with satellite observations, we examined the influence of sea surface wind on the distribution of water masses and biomass within the interior of an anticyclonic eddy. Ten drifters were deployed in the northern South China Sea in the spring of 2021. Eventually, six were trapped in an anticyclonic mesoscale eddy for an extended period. Interestingly, the drifters’ trajectories were not symmetric around the eddy center, displaying a significant offset of the distance from the wind turns to the southerly wind. Particle tracking experiments demonstrated that this departure could mainly be attributed to wind-driven ageostrophic currents. This is due to the strength of wind-driven ageostrophic currents being more comparable to geostrophic currents when accompanied by a deflection between the directions of the wind-driven current and the eddy’s translation. The drifters’ derived data indicated that sub-mesoscale ageostrophic currents within the eddy contributed to this asymmetric trajectory, with Ekman and non-Ekman components playing a role. Furthermore, the evolution of ocean color data provided corroborating evidence of these dynamic processes, highlighting the importance of ageostrophic processes within mesoscale eddies.

The Northwest Atlantic Shelf and Slope have warmed dramatically in the past decade, changing marine life and challenging fisheries management. A rapid warming event in 2009/2010, linked to a reduced supply of cold water from the Labrador Sea, pushed this region to a new state of unprecedentedly high temperatures that persists today. However, a mechanistic understanding of how the Labrador Current connectivity is reduced at the Tail of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland has been lacking. Here, we present the results of a 25-year (1993–2017) Lagrangian analysis using the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model. Synthetic particles were released in the vicinity of the Labrador Current upstream of the Grand Banks and tracked in a 2-D velocity field. We found that the Labrador Current can be completely blocked by Gulf Stream eddies and meanders that impinge on the shelf break along the Grand Banks. This blocking can occur in many different locations at, upstream, or downstream of the Tail of the Grand Banks, since the Labrador Current needs a clear passage over a long distance to continue its path. In the simulation, the Labrador Current has been blocked more often since 2008, which led to the warming of the Northwest Atlantic Shelf and Slope. These results, which are consistent with satellite observations, can provide predictability for the New England and Nova Scotia shelf environments potentially helpful for ecosystem management.

Climate change is one of the top three global threats to seabirds, particularly species that visit polar regions. Arctic terns migrate between both polar regions annually and rely on productive marine areas to forage, on sea ice for rest and foraging, and prevailing winds during flight. Here, we report 21st-century trends in environmental variables affecting arctic terns at key locations along their Atlantic/Indian Ocean migratory flyway during the non-breeding seasons, identified through tracking data. End-of-century climate change projections were derived from Earth System Models and multi-model means calculated in two Shared Socioeconomic Pathways: ‘middle-of-the-road’ and ‘fossil-fuelled development’ scenarios. Declines in North Atlantic primary production emerge as a major impact to arctic terns likely to affect their foraging during the 21st century under a ‘fossil-fuelled development’ scenario. Minimal changes are, however, projected at three other key regions visited by arctic terns (Benguela Upwelling, Subantarctic Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean). Southern Ocean sea ice extent is likely to decline, but the magnitude of change and potential impacts on tern survival are uncertain. Small changes (<1ms1) in winds are projected in both scenarios, but with minimal likely impacts on migration routes and duration. However, Southern Ocean westerlies are likely to strengthen and contract closer to the continent, which may require arctic terns to shift routes or flight strategies. Overall, we find minor effects of climate change on the migration of arctic terns, with the exception of poorer foraging in the North Atlantic. However, given that arctic terns travel over huge spatial scales and live for decades, they integrate minor changes in conditions along their migration routes such that the sum effect may be greater than the parts. Meeting carbon emission targets is vital to slow these end-of-century climatic changes and minimise extinction risk for a suite of polar species.

Air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Southern Ocean plays an important role in the global carbon budget. Previous studies have suggested that flow around topographic features of the Southern Ocean enhances the upward supply of carbon from the deep to the surface, influencing air-sea CO2 exchange. Here, we investigate the role of seafloor topography on the transport of carbon and associated air-sea CO2 flux in an idealized channel model. We find elevated CO2 outgassing upstream of a seafloor ridge, driven by anomalous advection of dissolved inorganic carbon. Argo-like Lagrangian particles in our channel model sample heterogeneously in the vicinity of the seafloor ridge, which could impact float-based estimates of CO2 flux.

South African climate variability has been linked to changes in both the Agulhas system and external forcing (i.e. CO2 and ozone). We analysed future climate change in the Agulhas system volume transport and its associated impacts on South Africa’s precipitation using the Community Climate System Model version 4 as part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, phase 5. Output from one historical and three future greenhouse gas emission scenarios were examined to project various climate storylines. We found that the Agulhas Current volume transport decreases across all three scenarios and that the current displays a strong baroclinic component with an increase in transport at the surface and decrease at intermediate depths. Agulhas leakage was found to increase with historical emissions. Additionally, an east-west dipole pattern for convective precipitation was found over South Africa, with an increase over the eastern region related to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and a decrease in the western region linked to the location of Hadley cell edge latitude. Moving into the 21st century, future predictions in regional climate variability are shown to be dependent on the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions and are extremely important for South Africa, a region prone to drought and flooding and home to a large population dependent on rain-fed agriculture.

The Northern Patagonian shelf (35-42°S SW South Atlantic) is a transitional area between the subtropical and subantarctic domains, where the shelf shifts from source to sink of atmospheric CO2. In the southeast portion (39-42°S, 61-55°W) of this area, winds interact with different water masses and picture a complex circulation that supports two productive frontal systems: the Mid-Shelf Front (MSF) and the Patagonian Shelf-break Front. We combined remote sensing (e.g., monthly surface chlorophyll a over the period: September-December 2002-2021), reanalysis (winds and surface currents), and in situ measurements from three cross-shelf cruises in spring 2016, 2017, and 2019, to assess the underlying drivers of phytoplankton distribution. The anomalous high chlorophyll concentration in the MSF in spring 2016 was related to enhanced water mass retention by N-NE winds. Contrasting phytoplankton assemblages emerged related to stratified waters in the shelf influenced by the Patagonian Current and vertically mixed waters at the continental edge (Malvinas Current). Large diatoms prevailed in the outer shelf followed by dinoflagellates, while nanoflagellates and microzooplankton dominated in the mid-shelf. Furthermore, thickness of the subsurface chlorophyll maximum was broader in the early spring than in a more advanced state of the bloom where the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi was abundant. We showed that different time-scale physical processes—winds, surface currents and vertical mixing—are underpinning the development of spring blooms with different taxa composition in the Patagonian shelf, where different water masses define the hydrological complexity that led to patchy phytoplankton.

The fate of plastics that enter the ocean is a longstanding puzzle. Recent estimates of the oceanic input of plastic are one to two orders of magnitude larger than the amount measured floating at the surface. This discrepancy could be due to overestimation of input estimates, processes removing plastic from the surface ocean or fragmentation and degradation. Here we present a 3D global marine mass budget of buoyant plastics that resolves this discrepancy. We assimilate observational data from different marine reservoirs, including coastlines, the ocean surface, and the deep ocean, into a numerical model, considering particle sizes of 0.1–1,600.0 mm. We find that larger plastics (>25 mm) contribute to more than 95% of the initially buoyant marine plastic mass: 3,100 out of 3,200 kilotonnes for the year 2020. Our model estimates an ocean plastic input of about 500 kilotonnes per year, less than previous estimates. Together, our estimated total amount and annual input of buoyant marine plastic litter suggest there is no missing sink of marine plastic pollution. The results support higher residence times of plastics in the marine environment compared with previous model studies, in line with observational evidence. Long-lived plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, which our model suggests is continuing to increase, could negatively impact ecosystems without countermeasures and prevention strategies.

Introduction: Floating marine litter (FML) is a global problem with significant risks to marine life and human health. In semi-enclosed basins like the Black Sea, slow water replenishment and strong input from European rivers create conditions that can lead to the accumulation of FML. This study aims to validate and utilize an FML dispersion and accumulation numerical model. Additionally, it assesses the influence of Stokes drift on the accumulation patterns of marine litter in the Black Sea, focusing on the contribution from the main river discharge points. Methods: Numerical Lagrangian modeling adapted to the regional domain in the Black Sea was employed to simulate the dispersion and accumulation of FML. Three scenarios were conducted: two involved homogeneous particle release, one considering Stokes drift, and the other excluding it. The third scenario involved particle release from the nine main river basins. Results: The southwest coast of the Black Sea exhibited a high density of FML in all scenarios. This finding is likely attributed to the cyclonic circulation, significant FML input from the Danube River, and other northern rivers. Notably, the consideration of Stokes drift significantly impacted the residence time of particles in offshore waters and the percentage of particles washing up on the shore. Including Stokes drift increased the percentage of beached particles from 45.5% to 75.5% and reduced the average residence time from 99 to 63 days. These results align with recent literature, which emphasizes the importance of accounting for Stokes drift to avoid overestimating residence times. Discussion: The model's findings provide valuable insights into FML accumulation patterns in the Black Sea. The eastern region near the Georgian coast and the northwestern Black Sea were identified as high-density areas, corroborated by observational data. This research underscores the significance of considering Stokes drift when modeling FML transport, particularly concerning marine litter accumulation and potential impacts on coastal regions.

PyPlume is a Python toolbox for unifying the process of loading two-dimensional oceanic current vector fields from models and observations, simulating trajectory models, and analyzing particle trajectories. Jupyter notebooks are utilized to simplify management and configuration of simulations while also providing an interface for rapid assessment of simulated trajectories. The software provides a modular selection of boundary conditions, gap-filling schemes, and advection kernels. Model outputs can be visualized by a suite of plotting tools, and be exported for analysis with additional processing software. Example applications of PyPlume include near real-time and forecast analysis of surface pollutants in coastal waters.

On August 13th, 2021, the Fukutoku-Okanoba, a submarine volcano in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, erupted. Satellites detected various pumice rafts that had drifted westward to reach southern Japan over two months. To cope with the potential danger from pumice rafts, predicting their trajectories is crucial. Using a Lagrangian particle tracking model, the trajectories of the rafts were investigated. The model results showed strong sensitivity to the windage coefficient of pumice rafts, which is uncertain and could cause significant errors. An optimal windage coefficient was estimated by comparing the model results with satellite images using a skill score based on the distance between simulated particles and the nearest observed rafts divided by the travel distance of the particles. The optimal windage coefficients ranged between 2 and 3 % and produced pathways comparable to the observations from satellites. The simulation results showed that the pumice rafts moved from Fukutoku-Okanoba toward the Ryukyu Islands for approximately two months prior to being pushed by the north-easterly wind toward Taiwan against the Kuroshio. The methods presented here may become a valuable tool in managing coastal hazards due to diverse marine debris.

Intense short-term wind events can flush multiple-inlet systems and even renew the water entirely. Nonetheless, little is known about the effect of wind variations at seasonal and interannual scales on the flushing of such systems. Here, we computed two Lagrangian transport time scales (LTTS), the residence and exposure times, for a multiple-inlet system (the Dutch Wadden Sea) over 36 years using a realistic numerical model simulation. Our results reveal pronounced seasonal and interannual variability in both system-wide LTTS. The seasonality of the LTTS is strongly anti-correlated to the wind energy from the prevailing directions, which are from the southwesterly quadrant and coincidentally aligned with the geographical orientation of the system. This wind energy, which is stronger in autumn-winter than in spring-summer, triggers strong flushing (and hence low values of the LTTS) during autumn-winter. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Scandinavia Pattern (SCAN) are shown to be the main drivers of interannual variability in the local wind and, ultimately, in both LTTS. However, this coupling is much more efficient during autumn-winter when these patterns show larger values and variations. During these seasons, a positive NAO and a negative SCAN induce stronger winds in the prevailing directions, enhancing the flushing efficiency of the system. The opposite happens during positive SCAN and negative NAO, when weaker flushing during autumn-winter is observed. Thus, large-scale atmospheric patterns strongly affect the interannual variability in flushing and are potential drivers of the long-term ecology and functioning of multiple-inlet systems.

Little is known about dispersal in deep-sea ecosystems, especially for sponges, which are abundant ecosystem engineers. Understanding patterns of gene flow in deep-sea sponges is essential, especially in areas where rising pressure from anthropogenic activities makes difficult to combine management and conservation. Here, we combined population genomics and oceanographic modelling to understand how Northeast Atlantic populations (Cantabrian Sea to Norway) of the deep-sea sponge Phakellia ventilabrum are connected. The analysis comprised ddRADseq derived SNP datasets of 166 individuals collected from 57 sampling stations from 17 different areas, including two Marine Protected Areas, one Special Area of Conservation and other areas with different levels of protection. The 4,017 neutral SNPs used indicated high connectivity and panmixis amongst the majority of areas (Ireland to Norway), spanning ca. 2,500-km at depths of 99–900 m. This was likely due to the presence of strong ocean currents allowing long-distance larval transport, as supported by our migration analysis and by 3D particle tracking modelling. On the contrary, the Cantabrian Sea and Roscoff (France) samples, the southernmost areas in our study, appeared disconnected from the remaining areas, probably due to prevailing current circulation patterns and topographic features, which might be acting as barriers for gene flow. Despite this major genetic break, our results suggest that all protected areas studied are well-connected with each other. Interestingly, analysis of SNPs under selection replicated results obtained for neutral SNPs. The relatively low genetic diversity observed along the study area, though, highlights the potential fragility of this species to changing climates, which might compromise resilience to future threats.

Dinoflagellate cyst assemblages present a valuable proxy to infer paleoceanographic conditions, yet factors influencing geographic distributions of species remain largely unknown, especially in the Southern Ocean. Strong lateral transport, sea-ice dynamics, and a sparse and uneven geographic distribution of surface sediment samples have limited the use of dinocyst assemblages as a quantitative proxy for paleo-environmental conditions such as sea surface temperature (SST), nutrient concentrations, salinity, and sea ice (presence). In this study we present a new set of surface sediment samples (n=66) from around Antarctica, doubling the number of Antarctic-proximal samples to 100 (dataset wsi_100) and increasing the total number of Southern Hemisphere samples to 655 (dataset sh_655). Additionally, we use modelled ocean conditions and apply Lagrangian techniques to all Southern Hemisphere sample stations to quantify and evaluate the influence of lateral transport on the sinking trajectory of microplankton and, with that, to the inferred ocean conditions. k-means cluster analysis on the wsi_100 dataset demonstrates the strong affinity of Selenopemphix antarctica with sea-ice presence and of Islandinium spp. with low-salinity conditions. For the entire Southern Hemisphere, the k-means cluster analysis identifies nine clusters with a characteristic assemblage. In most clusters a single dinocyst species dominates the assemblage. These clusters correspond to well-defined oceanic conditions in specific Southern Ocean zones or along the ocean fronts. We find that, when lateral transport is predominantly zonal, the environmental parameters inferred from the sea floor assemblages mostly correspond to those of the overlying ocean surface. In this case, the transport factor can thus be neglected and will not represent a bias in the reconstructions. Yet, for some individual sites, e.g. deep-water sites or sites under strong-current regimes, lateral transport can play a large role. The results of our study further constrain environmental conditions represented by dinocyst assemblages and the location of Southern Ocean frontal systems.

The dynamics of fluid flows give rise to robust, persistent circulation features that underpin the flow and exert strong control over the advection of water masses, either enhancing it or supressing it, collectively known as lagrangian coherent structures. Lagrangian approaches and metrics have been shown to be better suited than eulerian ones at locating and delineating such structures and capturing the effect they have on the formation and dispersion of water masses, particularly at the smaller scales. In this paper, we use the framework of lagrangian coherent structures to analyse the ocean velocity fields over a climatological year obtained from a high-resolution eddy-resolving model in order to investigate the lagrangian regimes that affect the motion, separation and mixing of water masses in the Mediterranean Sea. The lagrangian regimes that develop in each sub-basin over the course of the year are characterised and regions of persistent lagrangian activity and coherent structure formation and presence are identified. A quantitative picture of the seasonal variability of the lagrangian coherent structure-induced horizontal mixing and vortex formation is obtained.

Previous studies have shown the presence of strong mesoscale eddy activities in the Indonesian Seas and their influence on the transport and water mass properties of the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF), a mean flow from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian Archipelago. This study explores the effects of these eddy activities, or high-frequency flow variability (HFFV), on residence time and pathway of the ITF by conducting Lagrangian particle tracking experiments using a velocity field from an eddy-resolving ocean general circulation model. Particles are released at key locations in the western and eastern routes of the ITF and tracked both backward and forward in time. To assess the effects of flow variability that has a time scale longer than a day but shorter than a month, the definition of HFFV in this study, we conduct parallel experiments using daily and monthly averaged velocity fields. Particle trajectories reveal the contrasting circulation characteristics of the Sulawesi and Banda Seas. HFFV in the Sulawesi Sea (in the western route) is high, causing water to circulate longer over a broader area. The longer residence time in the Sulawesi Sea helps the upwelling of the inflowing Pacific waters, especially the intermediate water masses, to rise above 300 m at the Makassar Strait, and also has the potential to allow mixing processes to modify the water mass properties of the ITF. In contrast, HFFV is much lower in the Banda Sea and has minimal effects on the ITF.

Population sizes of the Japanese red coral Corallium japonicum have been severely affected by poaching and overfishing. Although genetic structure and connectivity patterns are considered important parameters for conservation strategies, there are few studies focusing on the population genetics of C. japonicum in the Northwest Pacific. We examined the genetic population structure of C. japonicum, in the Northwest Pacific. We used restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq), which can be used to identify genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs), to reveal detailed within-species genetic variations. Using the variable SNP loci identified from this analysis, we successfully evaluated the population-level genetic diversity and patterns of gene flow among multiple populations of C. japonicum around Japan. The results of genetic analysis basically showed that gene flow is widely maintained in the geographic range examined in this study, but the analysis in combination with larval dispersal simulations revealed several populations that were genetically distinct from the other populations, suggesting geographically limited gene flows. The information obtained from this study will be useful for the design of effective management schemes for C. japonicum, which is under threat from overfishing.

The Labrador Current transports cold, relatively fresh, and well-oxygenated waters within the subpolar North Atlantic and towards the eastern American continental shelf. The relative contribution of these waters to either region depends on the eastward retroflection of the Labrador Current at the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Here, we develop a retroflection index based on the pathway of virtual Lagrangian particles and show that strong retroflection generally occurs when a large-scale circulation adjustment, related to the subpolar gyre, accelerates the Labrador Current and shifts the Gulf Stream northward, partly driven by a northward shift of the wind patterns in the western North Atlantic. Starting in 2008, a particularly strong northward shift of the Gulf Stream dominates the other drivers. A mechanistic understanding of the drivers of the Labrador Current retroflection should help predict changes in the water properties in both export regions, and anticipate their impacts on marine life and deep-water formation.

In highly fragmented and relatively stable cold-seep ecosystems, species are expected to exhibit high migration rates and long-distance dispersal of long-lived pelagic larvae to maintain genetic integrity over their range. Accordingly, several species inhabiting cold seeps are widely distributed across the whole Atlantic Ocean, with low genetic divergence between metapopulations on both sides of the Atlantic Equatorial Belt (AEB, i.e. Barbados and African/European margins). Two hypotheses may explain such patterns: (i) the occurrence of present-day gene flow or (ii) incomplete lineage sorting due to large population sizes and low mutation rates. Here, we evaluated the first hypothesis using the cold seep mussels Gigantidas childressi, G. mauritanicus, Bathymodiolus heckerae and B. boomerang. We combined COI barcoding of 763 individuals with VIKING20X larval dispersal modelling at a large spatial scale not previously investigated. Population genetics supported the parallel evolution of Gigantidas and Bathymodiolus genera in the Atlantic Ocean and the occurrence of a 1-3 Million-year-old vicariance effect that isolated populations across the Caribbean Sea. Both population genetics and larval dispersal modelling suggested that contemporary gene flow and larval exchanges are possible across the AEB and the Caribbean Sea, although probably rare. When occurring, larval flow was eastward (AEB - only for B. boomerang) or northward (Caribbean Sea - only for G. mauritanicus). Caution is nevertheless required since we focused on only one mitochondrial gene, which may underestimate gene flow if a genetic barrier exists. Non-negligible genetic differentiation occurred between Barbados and African populations, so we could not discount the incomplete lineage sorting hypothesis. Larval dispersal modelling simulations supported the genetic findings along the American coast with high amounts of larval flow between the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and the US Atlantic Margin, although the Blake Ridge population of B. heckerae appeared genetically differentiated. Overall, our results suggest that additional studies using nuclear genetic markers and population genomics approaches are needed to clarify the evolutionary history of the Atlantic bathymodioline mussels and to distinguish between ongoing and past processes.

This study presents the first dataset of physical and textural properties of sea ice collected in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean sector of the Antarctic marginal ice zone (MIZ). Observations of sea ice from this region in the austral spring 2019, including sea-ice core temperature, salinity, crystal size, texture, oxygen isotopes and stratigraphy, were used in conjunction with a Lagrangian back-tracking algorithm and atmospheric reanalyses. This method relates the reconstructed synoptic conditions to sea-ice growth along the transect. A significant difference was found between the stratigraphy of consolidated pack ice samples collected at the same latitude and spanning over 550 km eastwards. The eastward group was found to have more disturbances in their stratigraphy which is attributed to the highly variable atmospheric and sea-ice conditions together with varying wave penetration through the sea-ice pack, notably during the passage of an intense polar cyclone, while the westward group showed no signs of disturbance or deformation. These results indicate that consolidated Antarctic sea-ice floes of similar thickness and from the same latitude in the MIZ have distinct stratigraphic properties, which will influence their physical and biogeochemical features.

Coral reefs around the world are under increasing threat to global climate change and coral bleaching events that can result in severe damage and mortality to the reef systems. Some coral reefs are situated in areas where the complex ocean flow patterns and their interaction with topographical features around the reefs provide certain refuges to the rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching. The Sodwana reef system experiences cold water temperature anomalies that cause short-term temperature fluctuations on the reefs. It is suggested that these temperature anomalies provide relief from bleaching and are an integral part of the coral’s survival at Sodwana. Previous studies have shown that the temperature anomalies are linked to regional scale hydrodynamic features surrounding Sodwana. We investigated the cold water pathways and regional flow patterns associated with the temperature anomaly events between 1994 and 2015 using data from the global reanalysed NEMO ocean model output. A comparison between temperature measurements taken on the Sodwana reefs and temperature data extracted from the model near Sodwana shows a good agreement and that the model replicates the temperature anomalies. This indicates that the temperature anomalies are associated with the regional hydrodynamic flow structures replicated in the NEMO model. We used a Lagrangian particle backtracking model and the hydrodynamic data from the NEMO model to delineate the pathways associated with the 63 temperature anomalies observed between 1994 and 2015. The pathways delineated from the Lagrangian particle backtracking model originate to the northeast of Sodwana within the Delagoa Bight region, indicating that hydrodynamics around the Delagoa Bight is linked to the cold water temperature anomalies observed at Sodwana. A statistical analysis of the modelled regional Eulerian flow fields showed that two representative regional flow fields are associated with the anomalies and representative pathways. The first representative flow field features a high-speed concentrated southward stream that separates from the Delagoa Bight peninsula and flows along the seaward edge of the Delagoa shelf and a cyclonic eddy structure within the Delagoa Bight. The second representative flow field features the southward stream that separates from the Delagoa Bight peninsula and flows directly to the Sodwana region with a significantly smaller separation zone within the Delagoa Bight. The second representative flow field shows no observable cyclonic eddy structure. The southward stream observed in all representative flow fields reattaches to the South African coastline near the Sodwana region. We also show through the mean particle vertical displacement and temperature change along the anomaly pathways that the nearshore zone within 50 km of Sodwana is a region of enhanced upwelling and mixing during the anomaly periods.

Oceanic submesoscale flows are considered to be a crucial conduit for the downscale transfer of oceanic mesoscale kinetic energy and upper-ocean material exchange, both laterally and vertically, but defining observations revealing submesoscale dynamics and/or transport properties remain sparse. Here, we report on an elaborate observation of a warm and fresh filament intruding into a cyclonic mesoscale eddy. By integrating cruise measurements, satellite observations, particle-tracking simulations, and the trajectory of a surface drifter, we show that the filament originated from an anticyclonic eddy immediately to the west of the cyclonic eddy, and the evolution of the filament was mainly due to the geostrophic flows associated with the eddy pair. Our observations reveal the mass exchange of the eddy pair and suggest that submesoscale flows can degrade the coherence of mesoscale eddies, providing important implications for the transport properties of mesoscale eddies. Vigorous submesoscale turbulence was found within the eddy core region, due to filamentous intrusion and frontogenesis. Our findings have thus offered novel insights into the dynamics and transport properties of oceanic submesoscale flows, which should be taken into account in their simulation and parameterization in ocean and climate models.

A common dilemma for oceanographers is the choice of horizontal diffusivity. There is no single answer as we could argue that diffusion depends precisely on those processes that cannot be sampled or modeled. Here we propose the radial offset by diffusion (ROD) method as a simple model-dependent approach for estimating these coefficients, and show its application for the southwestern South Atlantic. The method compares actual displacements of field drifters with numerical trajectory predictions. The observed-predicted differences in radial positions (radial offsets), which respond to diffusive motions not captured by the numerical model, are reproduced with a one-dimensional radial-diffusive solution through a proper selection of the diffusion coefficient. The method is tested at eight depths, from the sea surface down to 2000 m, using several drifter datasets and the Parcels software applied to the GLORYS12v1 (1/12° daily) velocity outputs. In all cases the radial offsets show Gaussian distributions that are well reproduced by the radial diffusive solution. Maximum diffusivities of 4630-4980 m2 s−1 happen in the upper 200 m of the water column and minimum values of 1080-1270 m2 s−1 occur between 1400 and 2000 m. The 15-m diffusivity is fairly constant in latitude (3850 to 5270 m2 s−1), but the 1000-m diffusivity decreases from 1640-1820 m2 s−1 north of the Polar Front to 530 m2 s−1 south of the Southern Boundary. A comparison with other diffusivity studies validates the good adequacy of the ROD method for numerical and field applications.

In highly fragmented and relatively stable cold-seep ecosystems, species are expected to exhibit high migration rates and long-distance dispersal of long-lived pelagic larvae to maintain genetic integrity over their range. Accordingly, several species inhabiting cold seeps are widely distributed across the whole Atlantic Ocean, with low genetic divergence between metapopulations on both sides of the Atlantic Equatorial Belt (AEB, i.e. Barbados and African/European margins). Two hypotheses may explain such patterns: (i) the occurrence of present-day gene flow or (ii) incomplete lineage sorting due to large population sizes and low mutation rates. Here, we evaluated the first hypothesis using the cold seep mussels Gigantidas childressi, G. mauritanicus, Bathymodiolus heckerae and B. boomerang. We combined COI barcoding of 763 individuals with VIKING20X larval dispersal modelling at a large spatial scale not previously investigated. Population genetics supported the parallel evolution of Gigantidas and Bathymodiolus genera in the Atlantic Ocean and the occurrence of a 1-3 Million-year-old vicariance effect that isolated populations across the Caribbean Sea. Both population genetics and larval dispersal modelling suggested that contemporary gene flow and larval exchanges are possible across the AEB and the Caribbean Sea, although probably rare. When occurring, larval flow was eastward (AEB - only for B. boomerang) or northward (Caribbean Sea - only for G. mauritanicus). Caution is nevertheless required since we focused on only one mitochondrial gene, which may underestimate gene flow if a genetic barrier exists. Non-negligible genetic differentiation occurred between Barbados and African populations, so we could not discount the incomplete lineage sorting hypothesis. Larval dispersal modelling simulations supported the genetic findings along the American coast with high amounts of larval flow between the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and the US Atlantic Margin, although the Blake Ridge population of B. heckerae appeared genetically differentiated. Overall, our results suggest that additional studies using nuclear genetic markers and population genomics approaches are needed to clarify the evolutionary history of the Atlantic bathymodioline mussels and to distinguish between ongoing and past processes.

Oceanic submesoscale flows are considered to be a crucial conduit for the downscale transfer of oceanic mesoscale kinetic energy and upper-ocean material exchange, both laterally and vertically, but defining observations revealing submesoscale dynamics and/or transport properties remain sparse. Here, we report on an elaborate observation of a warm and fresh filament intruding into a cyclonic mesoscale eddy. By integrating cruise measurements, satellite observations, particle-tracking simulations, and the trajectory of a surface drifter, we show that the filament originated from an anticyclonic eddy immediately to the west of the cyclonic eddy, and the evolution of the filament was mainly due to the geostrophic flows associated with the eddy pair. Our observations reveal the mass exchange of the eddy pair and suggest that submesoscale flows can degrade the coherence of mesoscale eddies, providing important implications for the transport properties of mesoscale eddies. Vigorous submesoscale turbulence was found within the eddy core region, due to filamentous intrusion and frontogenesis. Our findings have thus offered novel insights into the dynamics and transport properties of oceanic submesoscale flows, which should be taken into account in their simulation and parameterization in ocean and climate models.

The present study investigates the interannual variability of the advective pathways and transit times of the Red Sea Overflow Water (RSOW) in the western Arabian Sea using virtual particles as a proxy indicator for the poorly understood RSOW spreading. The Lagrangian simulations are based on the GLORYS12 eddy-rich reanalysis (1/12°), which assimilates most satellite and in situ observations from 1993 to 2018. Statistical analysis of particle positions reveals the Gulf's mouth is always the main RSOW export route out of the Gulf of Aden. Moreover, there is substantial interannual variability in the three RSOW pathways in the western Arabian Sea, which are consistent with in-situ salinity variability at the RSOW layer. The faster Socotra pathway is strongest for particles released in 1998–1999 and 2012 and almost non-existent for the ones released in 2006–2007. The strongest state of the Socotra pathway co-occurs with some of the most powerful El-Nino/Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole events in history. A decadal seesaw stands out between the Northwest pathway, which advects RSOW northward offshore the Arabian Peninsula, and the Southwest pathway, which advects RSOW southward to the Somali Basin along the eastern side of Socotra. While the Northwest pathway strengthened from 1996 to 2011, the Southwest weakened. These changes are associated with interannual variability in the western boundary undercurrents and subsurface eddy kinetic energy. Interestingly, the Northwest pathway trajectories are eddy-dominated, in striking contrast with the Socotra and Southwest pathways, in which western boundary undercurrents are major players. This fact suggests that eddy-induced transport is likely to have a significant role in spreading the RSOW northward. No considerable interannual variability in transit times is detected for any pathway.

Marine plastic floating on the sea surface is an extensive environmental problem. The present study investigated the transport patterns of marine litter and areas of its accumulation in the Baltic Sea by using a hydrodynamic model coupled with a particle-tracking model. We also studied the extent of marine litter from the main polluting rivers. Mapping of marine plastic debris distribution in 2017–2018 revealed that the largest plastic accumulation area is between latitude 59° N and 61° N, which includes the Northern Baltic Proper, Archipelago Sea, and the Gulf of Finland. The floating plastic spreads from the largest plastic pollution sites River Vistula, Oder and Neman to the waters of all the countries around the Baltic Sea.

The impact of tropical Atlantic Ocean variability modes in the variability of the upper-ocean circulation has been investigated. For this purpose, we use three oceanic reanalyses, an interannual forced-ocean simulation, and satellite data for the period 1982–2018. We have explored the changes in the main surface and subsurface ocean currents during the emergence of Atlantic meridional mode (AMM), Atlantic zonal mode (AZM), and AMM–AZM connection. The developing phase of the AMM is associated with a boreal spring intensification of North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC) and a reinforced summer Eastern Equatorial Undercurrent (EEUC) and north South Equatorial Current (nSEC). During the decaying phase, the reduction of the wind forcing and zonal sea surface height gradient produces a weakening of surface circulation. For the connected AMM–AZM, in addition to the intensified NECC, EEUC, and nSEC in spring, an anomalous north-equatorial wind curl excites an oceanic Rossby wave (RW) that is boundary-reflected into an equatorial Kelvin wave (KW). The KW reverses the thermocline slope, weakening the nSEC and EUC in boreal summer and autumn, respectively. During the developing spring phase of the AZM, the nSEC is considerably reduced with no consistent impact at subsurface levels. During the autumn decaying phase, the upwelling RW-reflected mechanism is activated, modifying the zonal pressure gradient that intensifies the nSEC. The NECC is reduced in boreal spring–summer. Our results reveal a robust alteration of the upper-ocean circulation during AMM, AZM, and AMM-AZM, highlighting the decisive role of ocean waves in connecting the tropical and equatorial ocean transport.

Studying oceanography by using Lagrangian simulations has been adopted for a range of scenarios, such as the determining the fate of microplastics in the ocean, simulating the origin locations of microplankton used for palaeoceanographic reconstructions, for studying the impact of fish aggregation devices on the migration behaviour of tuna. These simulations are complex and represent a considerable runtime effort to obtain trajectory results, which is the prime motivation for enhancing the performance of Lagrangian particle simulators. This paper assesses established performance enhancing techniques from Eulerian simulators in light of computational conditions and demands of Lagrangian simulators. A performance enhancement strategy specifically targeting physics-based Lagrangian particle simulations is outlined to address the performance gaps, and techniques for closing the performance gap are presented and implemented. Realistic experiments are derived from three specific oceanographic application scenarios, and the suggested performance-enhancing techniques are benchmarked in detail, so to allow for a good attribution of speed-up measurements to individual techniques. The impacts and insights of the performance enhancement strategy are further discussed for Lagrangian simulations in other geoscience applications. The experiments show that I/O-enhancing techniques, such as dynamic loading and buffering, lead to considerable speed-up on-par with an idealised parallelisation of the process over 20 nodes. Conversely, while the cache-efficient structure-of-arrays collection yields a visible speed-up, other alternative data structures fail in fulfilling the theoretically-expected performance increase. This insight demonstrates the importance of good data alignment in memory and caches for Lagrangian physics simulations.

Marine microplastics can be colonized by biofouling microbial organisms, leading to a decrease in microplastics' buoyancy. The sinking of biofouled microplastics could therefore represent a novel carbon export pathway within the ocean carbon cycle. Here, we model how microplastics are biofouled by diatoms, their consequent vertical motion due to buoyancy changes, and the interactions between particle-attached diatoms and carbon pools within the water column. We initialise our Lagrangian framework with biogeochemical data from NEMO-MEDUSA-2.0 and estimate the amount of organic carbon exported below 100 m depth starting from different surface concentrations of 1 mm microplastics. We focus on the Mediterranean Sea, that is characterized by some of the world’s highest microplastics concentrations and is a hotspot for biogeochemical changes induced by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Our results show that the carbon export caused by sinking biofouled microplastics is proportional to the concentration of microplastics in the sea surface layer, at least at modelled concentrations. We estimate that, while current concentrations of microplastics can modify the natural biological carbon export by less than 1%, future concentrations projected under business-as-usual pollution scenarios may lead to carbon exports up to 5% larger than the baseline (1998-2012) by 2050. Areas characterized by high primary productivity, i.e., the western and central Mediterranean, are those where microplastics-mediated carbon export results to be highest. While highlighting the potential and quantitatively limited occurrence of this phenomenon in the Mediterranean Sea, our results call for further investigation of a microplastics-related carbon export pathway in the global ocean.

To accurately predict the impacts of ocean acidification on shallow-water ecosystems, we must account for the biogeochemical impact of local benthic communities, as well as the connectivity between offshore and onshore water masses. Estimation of residence time can help quantify this connectivity and determine the degree to which the benthos can influence the chemistry of the overlying water column. We present estimates of nearshore residence time for Guam and utilize these estimates to model the effects of benthic ecosystem metabolism on the coral reef carbonate system. Control volume and particle tracking approaches were used to estimate nearshore residence time. These estimates were paired with observed patterns in the reef carbonate system around Guam using water samples collected by NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Program. Model performance results suggest that when considering the effects of benthic metabolism on the carbonate system, it is paramount to represent the contact time of the water volume with the benthos. Even coarse estimates of residence time significantly increase model skill. We observed the highest predictive skill in models including control volume derived estimates of residence time, but only when those estimates were included as an interaction with benthic composition. This work shows that not only is residence time critically important to better predict biogeochemical variability in coral reef environments, but that even coarse hydrodynamic models can provide useful residence time estimates at management relevant, whole-ecosystem scales.

The simulation of Lagrangian drift is an important task in applications such as dispersion of pollutants, larvae and search and rescue activities. In this study, the Eulerian current, Stokes drift and wind effect on the simulation of observed drifters were analysed. The Lagrangian OceanParcels model was used, and the surface trajectories were assessed by comparison with 9 GPS drifter trajectories in the Gulf of Finland, Gulf of Riga and Lithuanian coast. The Normalised Cumulative Lagrangian Separation (NCLS) distance between the simulated and the satellite-tracked drifter trajectories, and the mean absolute error (MAE) were used as comparison metrics. The present study suggests the need to consider the Stokes drift and the wind factor in addition to the modelled Eulerian currents to obtain a better description of the trajectories of particles. By making these considerations, the OceanParcels model could adequately simulate particle trajectories in the sub-basins within the Baltic Sea. The realized model tests showed that motion of surface drifters are strongly controlled by the Stokes drift when the significant wave height is >1 m, whereas the wind component and the Eulerian currents are crucial when the significant wave height is <0.6 m or the wave (Stokes drift) directions do not match the wind direction.

The Western INDian Ocean Simulation (WINDS) is a regional configuration of the Coastal and Regional Ocean Community Model (CROCO) for the southwestern Indian Ocean. WINDS has a horizontal resolution of 1/50∘ (∼2 km) and spans a latitudinal range of 23.5∘ S–0∘ N and a longitudinal range from the East African coast to 77.5∘ E. We ran two experiments using the WINDS configuration: WINDS-M, a full 28-year multidecadal run (1993–2020); and WINDS-C, a 10-year climatological control run with monthly climatological forcing. WINDS was primarily run for buoyant Lagrangian particle tracking applications, and horizontal surface velocities are output at a temporal resolution of 30 min. Other surface fields are output daily, and the full 3D temperature, salinity, and velocity fields are output every 5 d. We demonstrate that WINDS successfully manages to reproduce surface temperature, salinity, currents, and tides in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and it is therefore appropriate for use in regional marine dispersal studies for buoyant particles or other applications using high-resolution surface ocean properties.

The Antarctic Slope Current (ASC) and Antarctic Coastal Current advect heat, freshwater, nutrients, and biological organisms westward around the Antarctic margin, providing a connective link between different sectors of the continental shelf. Yet the strength and pathways of connectivity around the continent, and the timescales of advection, remain poorly understood. We use daily velocity fields from a global high-resolution ocean-sea ice model, combined with Lagrangian particle tracking, to shed light on these timescales and improve our understanding of circumpolar connectivity around Antarctica. Virtual particles were released along vertical transects over the continental shelf every 5 days for a year and were tracked forward in time for 21 years. Analysis of the resulting particle trajectories highlights that the West Antarctic sector has widespread connectivity with all regions of the Antarctic shelf. Advection around the continent is typically rapid with peak transit times of 1–5 years for particles to travel 90° of longitude downstream. The ASC plays a key role in driving connectivity in East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea, while the Coastal Current controls connectivity in West Antarctica, the eastern Antarctic Peninsula, and along the continental shelf east of Prydz Bay. Connectivity around the shelf is impeded in two main locations, namely, the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and Cape Adare in the Ross Sea, where significant export of water from the continental shelf is found. These findings help to understand the locations and timescales over which anomalies, such as meltwater from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, can be redistributed downstream.

The Virgin Islands basin (VIB) includes several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of interest as biologically unique spawning aggregation sites. The ecological structure in and around these MPAs is regulated by several factors, including changes in near-surface water properties. Anomalously low near-surface salinity is observed in the VIB during April 2009/2011, and March 2010, with a salinity signature consistent with Amazon plume waters. Other low salinity events in the region are found during 2007 to 2017 using output from an ocean reanalysis. The reanalysis shows that horizontal salinity advection explains near-surface salinity variability in the VIB to a high degree, including events observed in the in-situ measurements. We use a Lagrangian Particle tracking model to track particles over the 2007-2017 period and identify the source and pathways of water imports to the VIB. We describe three pathways. The northernmost one is often associated with advection of salty Atlantic waters. The two southernmost paths are associated with advection of low salinity waters from the Amazon into the VIB. The latter two pathways arrive to the Caribbean Sea as described in previous studies on low salinity advection to the wider Caribbean from the Amazon river: we find that once in the Caribbean Sea, the low salinity water makes its way into the VIB when steered northward by mesoscale features. This results in Amazon river waters regulating salinity variability in the VIB during April-November. During December-March, when mesoscale activity is at its minimum, the Atlantic inflow regulates the salinity variability within the VIB instead.

Ocean currents are a key driver of plankton dispersal across the oceanic basins. However, species specific temperature constraints may limit the plankton dispersal. We propose a methodology to estimate the connectivity pathways and timescales for plankton species with given constraints on temperature tolerances, by combining Lagrangian modeling with network theory. We demonstrate application of two types of temperature constraints: thermal niche and adaptation potential and compare it to the surface water connectivity between sample stations in the Atlantic Ocean. We find that non-constrained passive particles representative of a plankton species can connect all the stations within three years at the surface with pathways mostly along the major ocean currents. However, under thermal constraints, only a subset of stations can establish connectivity. Connectivity time increases marginally under these constraints, suggesting that plankton can keep within their favorable thermal conditions by advecting via slightly longer paths. Effect of advection depth on connectivity is observed to be sensitive to the width of the thermal constraints, along with decreasing flow speeds with depth and possible changes in pathways.

Vast quantities of debris are beaching at remote islands in the western Indian Ocean. We carry out marine dispersal simulations incorporating currents, waves, winds, beaching, and sinking, for both terrestrial and marine sources of debris, to predict where this debris comes from. Our results show that most terrestrial debris beaching at these remote western Indian Ocean islands drifts from Indonesia, India, and Sri Lanka. Debris associated with fisheries and shipping also poses a major risk. Debris accumulation at Seychelles is likely seasonal, peaking during February–April. This pattern is driven by monsoonal winds and may be amplified during positive Indian Ocean Dipole and El-Niño events. Our results underline the vulnerability of small island states to marine plastic pollution, and are a crucial step towards improved management of the issue. The trajectories used in this study are available for download, and our analyses can be rerun under different parameter choices.

Physical forcings affect water exchange in coral reef atolls. Characteristics of the consequent water exchange depend on the atoll morphology and the local atmospheric and hydrographic conditions. The pattern of water exchange at the Dongsha atoll under the influences of tides, wind, and waves was investigated by conducting realistic modeling and numerical experiments. The analyses suggest that the southwestern wind could enhance the inflow transports at the southern reef flat and the outflow transports at the northern reef flat/north channel. The northeastern wind induces an inversed pattern. Unlike the wind, the waves always strengthen the inflow transports at the reef flat, and the locations of strengthened transports depend on the incident directions of the waves. Wind and waves induce shorter hydrodynamic time scales than tides, suggesting more vigorous water exchange during high wind and waves. The directions of wind and waves significantly affect the spatial distributions of the residence time and the age. This implies that the hydrodynamic processes in the Dongsha Atoll would have significant seasonal variability. This study presents different circulation patterns in an atoll system influenced by calm weather and strong wind/waves.

This work describes the circulation over the continental slope and the São Paulo Plateau in the Santos Basin during the SANSED winter 2019 survey. The cruise consisted of four legs in the period between June, 11 and August, 03 2019. The observed circulation is dominated by the Atlantic southwestern boundary current regime and remotely-generated anticyclones and cyclones. The former is composed by the Brazil Current, the Intermediate Western Boundary Current and their mesoscale meanders; the latter are 300km vortical rings with origin in the eastern side of the South Atlantic Basin. A Lagrangian scheme applied over satellite altimeter maps indicate that the origin of these rings is primarily the Cape Basin of South Africa. The interaction between the boundary currents, their cyclonic meanders, and the anticyclonic rings is complex, and varies widely. During the SANSED winter 2019 survey period, three anticyclones interacted with the Brazil Current, instabilizing it, forming dipoles with the current cyclonic meanders, leading to their downstream propagation. Ancienter cyclonic eddies within Santos Basin may interfere with the propagation of the large anticyclones further south. In addition, the continuous arrival of remotely-originated anticyclones, the larger portion over the São Paulo Plateau presented a tendency of counter-clockwise circulation during the whole cruise period.

Catch and distribution of tuna in the ocean are typically investigated with ocean basin-scale models. Due to their large scale, such models must greatly simplify tuna behaviour occurring at a scale below 100 km, despite interactions at this level potentially being important to both catch and distribution of tuna. For example, the associative behaviour of tuna with man-made floating objects, that are deployed by fishers to improve their catch rates (Fish Aggregating Devices; FADs), are usually ignored or simplified. Here we present a model that can be used to investigate the influence of tuna dynamics below the 100 km scale on larger scales. It is an Individual-Based Model (IBM) of a hypothetical, tuna-like species, that includes their interactions with each other, free-floating FADs and prey. In this IBM, both tuna and FADs are represented by Lagrangian particles that are advected by an ocean flow field, with tuna also exhibiting active swimming based on internal states such as stomach fullness. We apply the IBM in multiple configurations of idealized flow and prey fields, alongside differing interaction strengths between agents. When tuna swimming behaviour is influenced equally by prey and FADs, we find that the model simulations compare well with observations at the km scale. For instance, compared to observations, tuna particles have a similar stomach fullness when associated or non-associated to a FAD, tuna colonize at similar timescales at FADs after their deployment and tuna particles exhibit similar variations in continuous residence times. However, we find large differences in emergent dynamics such as residence and catch among different flow configurations, because the flow determines the time scale at which tuna encounter FADs. These findings are discussed in the context of directing future research, and an improved interpretation of tuna catch and other data for the sustainable management of these economically important species.

The South Atlantic Ocean plays an important role in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), connecting it to the Indian and Pacific Oceans as part of the global overturning circulation system. Yet, there are still open questions regarding the relative importance of the warm water versus cold water sources in the upper limb of the AMOC and on the detailed circulation pathways of the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) in the lower limb. These questions are addressed using model outputs from a 60-year, eddying global ocean-sea ice simulation that are validated against observations. We find that the Pacific Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) plays a role in setting the temperature and salinity properties of the water in the subtropical South Atlantic, but that the upper limb of the AMOC originates primarily from the warm Indian water through the Agulhas leakage (9.8 Sv of surface water + 3.5 of AAIW) and that only a relatively small contribution of 1.5 Sv colder, fresher AAIW originates from the Pacific Ocean. In the lower limb, the NADW flows southward as a deep western boundary current all the way to 45°S and then turns eastward to flow across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near 42°S before leaving the Atlantic Ocean, although there is clockwise recirculation in the Brazil, Angola, and Cape Basins.

A low-salinity pool (LSP) was observed in the northeastern South China Sea on 8–10 August 2018. Employing satellite and field observations, as well as widely used HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) Analysis data, we investigated the distribution, origin and evolution of the LSP. A bowl-like structure of the LSP was observed from field observations and is also indicated by the HYCOM Analysis data. Spatially, the LSP extended 20 m deep vertically and spread at least 45 km laterally. Particle tracking simulations using satellite-observed precipitation and surface currents revealed the origin and evolution of the LSP. It is found that the LSP was induced by a heavy rainfall event two days prior to the field observations, evidenced by the significant correlation between the rainfall and salinity anomaly. The vertical expansion of the LSP was favored by nocturnal convection, but was restricted by the strong stratification at its base, which appeared to have prohibited development of convective instabilities as indicated by the observed vertical variation of the turbulent dissipation rate. The formation of a barrier layer due to the LSP restricted vertical heat exchanges, and as a result a thin temperature inversion layer was formed as the surface temperature dropped due to the nighttime cooling and mixing with the cold rainwater. The thermohaline structure favored development of diffusive convection, which is evidenced by the observation that the diapycnal diffusivity for heat (KT) was one order of magnitude larger than that for density (Kρ). Overall, this study provides novel insights into how the upper ocean responds to rainfall with satellite and field observations.

During the last quarter of 2019, the beaches, mangroves, and estuaries of Northeast Brazil received an unprecedented volume of crude oil from the sea, which became the worst environmental disaster ever to reach the Brazilian coast. The oil, having reached the shores completely unnoticed, left both society and government agents completely clueless on (i) where the oil was coming from; (ii) how much oil was still in the ocean to reach the shorelines; and (iii) which beaches were going to be affected next! By exploring remote sensing data and ocean numerical modeling, along with oil dispersion chemistry on sea water, this study investigates the possible origin and path of the spill and whether it could have been detected from space. The oil dispersion modeling simulations performed for this investigation revealed a possible region and timing of the oil spill, also indicating the likelihood of it being advected toward the shoreline under the ocean surface.

Shelled pteropods are cosmopolitan, free-swimming organisms of biogeochemical and commercial importance. They are widely used as sentinel species for the overall response of marine ecosystems to environmental stressors associated with climate change and changes in ocean chemistry. However, currently we are unable to project the effects of climate change on shelled pteropods at the population level, due to the missing spatio-temporal characterization of the response of pteropods to environmental stressors, and the limited information on the pteropod life history and life-cycle. In this study, we implement a shelled pteropod Individual-Based Model (IBM), i.e. we simulate a pteropod population as a set of discrete individuals over several generations, life-stages (eggs, larvae, juveniles and adults) and as a function of temperature, food availability, and aragonite saturation state. The model is able to provide an abundance signal that is consistent with the abundance signal measured in the temperate region. In addition, the modeled life-stage progression matches the reported size spectrum across the year, with two major spawning periods in spring and fall, and maturation in March and September. Furthermore, our IBM correctly predicts the abundance maxima of younger, smaller and potentially more susceptible life-stages in spring and winter. Thus, our model provides a tool for advancing our understanding of the response of pteropod populations to future environmental changes.

In the easternmost portion of the Gulf of Guinea, Bioko Island marks the beginning of an island chain that stretches NE-SW to the Equator, where São Tomé Island sits in the path of the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC). In this study, we explore the meso-to-large-scale effects of local flow-topography interactions that escalate from the EUC encounter with the Gulf of Guinea islands. A mean shipboard Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler section captures the EUC as a strong subsurface jet that ultimately hits São Tomé. Motivated by these observations, we ran two ocean general circulation model simulations that differ by the presence versus absence of the Gulf of Guinea islands. Diagnostics of salinity and potential vorticity (PV) from these simulations show that the EUC bifurcates at 6°E, triggering mesoscale activity that spreads the EUC waters. On both sides of São Tomé, the EUC branches roll up into eddies that propagate westward. These low-PV anticyclones carry high salinity through the tropical Atlantic, introducing PV anomalies along eddy corridors mirrored by the Equator. The formation of such eddies is affected by diapycnal and isopycnal mixing and friction, and their distribution between hemispheres is intrinsically related to the location of São Tomé. The eddies are modulated at both seasonal and interannual scales. A strong EUC generates numerous and stronger eddies, while seasonal equatorial upwelling indirectly hinders their formation. Convergence of the EUC upstream of São Tomé reveals intense downwelling and freshening, whereas divergence and upwelling are associated with the EUC negotiating the island.

A collection of calved icebergs frozen in place by surrounding sea ice (a “mélange”) is common in many Greenlandic fjords. Being an obstacle to ocean currents, a mélange alters ocean dynamics and thermodynamics over the many kilometers that it extends out in front of the glacier. Here we focus on a set of dynamics—flow pathways, form drag, and turbulence—using many simulations that each resolve the flow around hundreds of volume-occupying, but otherwise passive, cuboid “icebergs.” Some streaks of fast flow do arise where currents are squeezed through gaps between icebergs but, on average, the near-surface current is slowed. Maximum average currents speeds are instead found at or below the drafts of the deepest icebergs. Form drag scales with U2h when few icebergs exist and smoothly transitions to scaling with NUh2 when many icebergs exist, where U is the far-field flow velocity, N is the buoyancy frequency, and h is a typical iceberg draft. Turbulence predominately occurs in wakes behind the icebergs (as opposed to below icebergs due to internal wave breaking). Consequently, turbulent dissipation is elevated at depths less than or near the drafts of larger icebergs (∼100 m).

The large, habitat-forming bubblegum coral, Paragorgia arborea, is a vulnerable marine ecosystem indicator with an antitropical distribution. Dense aggregations of the species have been protected from bottom-contact fishing in the Scotian Shelf bioregion off Nova Scotia, Canada in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Recently, basin-scale habitat suitability ensemble modeling has projected an alarming loss of 99% of suitable habitat for this species across the North Atlantic by 2100. Here, a regional reassessment of the predicted distribution of this species in the bioregion, using both machine learning (random forest) and generalized additive model (GAM) frameworks, including projection to 2046−2065, was undertaken. Extrapolation diagnostics were applied to determine the degree to which the models projected into novel covariate space (i.e., extrapolation) in order to avoid erroneous inferences. The best predictors of the species’ distribution were a suite of temporally-invariant terrain variables that identified suitable habitat along the upper continental slope. Additional predictors, projected to vary with future ocean climatologies, identified areas of the upper slope in the eastern portion of the study area that will remain within suitable ranges for P. arborea at least through to the mid-century. Additionally, 3-D Lagrangian particle tracking simulations indicated potential for both connectivity among known occurrence sites and existing protected areas, and for colonization of unsurveyed areas predicted to have suitable habitat, from locations of known occurrence. These results showed that extirpation of this iconic species from the Scotian Shelf bioregion is unlikely over the next decades. Potential climate refugia were identified and results presented in the context of protected area network design properties of representativity, connectivity, adequacy, viability and resilience.

While primary productivity is more stable in oceanic regions, it may vary to a great extent with the proximity to coasts, where mesoscale processes may intertwine and shape phytoplankton community composition and biomass. Sometimes, this may lead to the development of anomalous phytoplankton blooms (i.e., episodic blooms that exceed several times the average phytoplankton biomass). A massive bloom observed off the Western Iberian Coast (SW Europe) during March 2009 prompted a full investigation on its spatial and temporal extent, its causes, and its potential impact on the ecosystem. Results revealed that the March 2009 bloom was both novel in terms of biomass in a regional context and one of the largest anomalous blooms until now described in terms of relative magnitude. Its causes were due to a concurrence of long-term (deep winter MLD) and short-term factors (coastal upwelling, sudden changes in the water column, consistent offshore water transport). Its impact on the regional ecosystem is difficult to gauge, although the high concentrations of particulate organic carbon at surface during the bloom period suggests that it may have had a significant local impact. Since climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, it is possible that anomalous blooms will also become more frequent, expanding their role in shaping carbon export and food webs. These results are crucial for the monitoring of the Western Iberian Coast and are applicable to other complex coastal upwelling regions where phytoplankton biomass and variability have a crucial link to fisheries.

Intensive hydrographic and horizontal velocity measurements collected in the Alboran Sea enabled us to diagnose the three-dimensional dynamics of a frontal system. The sampled domain was characterized by a 40 km diameter anticyclonic eddy, with an intense front on its eastern side, separating the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Here, we implemented a multi-variate variational analysis (VA) to reconstruct the hydrographic fields, combining the 1-km horizontal resolution of the Underway Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) system with information on the flow shape from the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler velocities. One advantage of the VA is given by the physical constraint, which preserves fine-scale gradients better than the classical optimal interpolation (OI). A comparison between real drifter trajectories and virtual particles advected in the mapping quantified the improvements in the VA over the OI, with a 15% larger skill score. Quasi-geostrophic (QG) and semi-geostrophic (SG) omega equations enabled us to estimate the vertical velocity (w) which reached 40 m/day on the dense side of the front. How nutrients and other passive tracers leave the mixed-layer and subduct is estimated with 3D advection from the VA, which agreed with biological sampling from traditional CTD casts at two eddy locations. Downwelling warm filaments are further evidence of subduction, in line with the w from SG, but not with QG. SG better accounted for the along-isopycnal component of w in agreement with another analysis made on isopycnal coordinates. The multi-platform approach of this work and the use of variational methods improved the characterization and understanding of (sub)-mesoscale frontal dynamics.

Microplastic pellets were sampled in May and November 2018 during one-week surveys at 13 coastal beaches in Iskenderun Bay/Turkey. Pellet pollution index (PPI) was calculated for the beaches as a tool to assess beach pollution by microplastic pellets. Hydrometeorological conditions, including wind, current, wave, surface run-off, and precipitation, were examined during 2018 to reveal the effect on the transport of microplastic pellets within the study area. Sea-surface heights, including the astronomical tide and the storm surge and the wave runup heights, were also considered in the analysis to study the extent of hydrodynamic forcing on the beach. Hydrometeorological assessments indicated that the pellet concentrations in the coastal zone are mostly related to wind-induced transport. Three major river discharges are considered as the main source of microplastic pellets effluents. A Lagrangian particle transport model was conducted to reveal the possible beaching hotspots of microplastic pellets released from these river mouths. Average microplastic pellets were calculated as 126.04 ± 54.08 items/m2 for May 2018 and 70.22 ± 18.25 items/m2 for November 2018. An overall mean PPI for May 2018 was calculated as 1.13, indicating a moderate degree of pellet pollution, and 0.56 for November 2018, indicating a low degree of pellet pollution. The simulations showed that Orontes River effluents affected the inner Iskenderun Bay coasts more than the Seyhan and Ceyhan River.

Agulhas leakage, the transport of warm and salty waters from the Indian Ocean into the South Atlantic, has been suggested to increase under anthropogenic climate change, due to strengthening Southern Hemisphere westerly winds. The resulting enhanced salt transport into the South Atlantic may counteract the projected weakening of the Atlantic overturning circulation through warming and ice melting. Here we combine existing and new observation- and model-based Agulhas leakage estimates to robustly quantify its decadal evolution since the 1960s. We find that Agulhas leakage very likely increased between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s, in agreement with strengthening winds. Our models further suggest that increased leakage was related to enhanced transport outside eddies and coincided with strengthened Atlantic overturning circulation. Yet, it appears unlikely that Agulhas leakage substantially increased since the 1990s, despite continuously strengthening winds. Our results stress the need to better understand decadal leakage variability to detect and predict anthropogenic trends.

The ocean is an important part of the global system. Tracking the connectivity between bodies of water is crucial for understanding local, regional and global changes in the ocean dynamics that mediate the spreading of nutrients and influence the marine ecosystem and ocean productivity. We developed a Data Fusion approach that enhances and automates the existing methods for the analysis of this connectivity. This approach combines and condenses two different data sources in two stages, Data Enhancement followed by Data Reduction. The Data Enhancement stage fuses equidistantly gridded data containing physical measurements and trajectories representing movement data. The Data Reduction stage aggregates the fused data into a Markov Model representation of the transition probabilities between ocean regions. We applied this framework to an exemplary analysis for the connectivity between two oceanic areas using real ocean data stemming from marine research. We show that this method directly tackles the limitations of existing marine data analysis methods and furthermore introduces new means to answer questions that had no quantitative answers up to now.

The fluid dynamics planet Saturn gives rise to alternating east–west jet streams, large cyclonic and anticyclonic vortices, and a dipole-dominant magnetic field that is highly axisymmetric about the planetary rotation axis. Modeling these features in a self-consistent manner is crucial for understanding the dynamics of Saturn's interior and atmosphere. Here we report a turbulent high-resolution dynamo simulation in a spherical shell that produces these features simultaneously for the first time. A crucial model ingredient is a long-hypothesized stably stratified layer (SSL), sandwiched between a deep metallic hydrogen layer and an outer low-conductivity molecular layer, born out of the limited solubility of helium inside metallic hydrogen at certain depths. The model spontaneously produces polar cyclones and significant low-latitude and midlatitude jet stream activity in the molecular layer. The off-equatorial low-latitude jet streams partially penetrate into the SSL and interact with the magnetic field. This helps to axisymmetrize the magnetic field about the rotation axis and convert some of the poloidal magnetic field to a toroidal field, which appears as two global magnetic energy rings surrounding the deeper dynamo region. The simulation also mimics a distinctive dip in the fifth spherical harmonic in Saturn's magnetic energy spectrum as inferred from the Cassini Grand Finale measurements. Our model highlights the role of an SSL in shaping the fluid dynamical and magnetic features of giant planets, as exemplified at Saturn.

Plastic pollution has been reported in the North Atlantic Ocean since the 1970s, yet limited data over subsequent decades pose challenges when assessing spatio-temporal trends in relation to global leakages and intervention strategies. This study quantified microplastics within the upper ocean along a longitudinal transect of the North Atlantic and its subtropical gyre. Microplastics were sampled from surface and subsurface (−25 m) water using a manta trawl and NIKSIN bottle respectively. The surface water polymer community varied significantly between geographic positions (‘inshore’, ‘gyre’, ‘open ocean’), and was significantly influenced by fragment quantity. Compared to other positions, the North Atlantic gyre was associated with high concentrations of polyethylene, polypropylene, acrylic and polyamide fragments. Subsurface water was dominated by polyamide and polyester fibres. Backtracked 2-year Lagrangian simulations illustrated connectivity patterns. Continued monitoring of microplastics throughout the water column of the North Atlantic Ocean is required to address knowledge gaps and assess spatio-temporal trends.

The North Pacific armorhead (NPA), Pentaceros wheeleri, is thought to exhibit an extended post-spawning epipelagic phase in which larvae disperse to the northeast Pacific Ocean. Current understanding of juvenile distribution, development, and mechanisms that drive recruitment variation, however, remains largely incomplete. The objective of this study was to compare a time series of NPA recruitment to established climate indices and to environmental covariates to explore drivers of the NPA life cycle. Additionally, this work investigates potential larval NPA transport pathways and their positional relationships to the proposed northeastern nursery grounds. Using Lagrangian particle tracking, trajectories of passive larvae were simulated at depths of 0 and 15m for 18years (2001–2018) from the Southern Emperor-Northern Hawaiian Ridge (SE-NHR) natal habitat. Dispersal distances and particle end positions were examined for their potential relationships with recruitment. Sea surface temperature and net primary productivity were evaluated as predictor variables using generalized additive modeling. Neither regression of particle end-point characteristics nor environmental covariates resulted in significant correlations with recruitment here, perhaps owing to data limitations surrounding the nursery zone. Particles were found to be advected largely within the North Pacific transition zone in the central north Pacific. Significant seasonal correlations were found between recruitment and the Arctic Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation and North Pacific Gyre Oscillation, suggesting that NPA recruitment mechanisms respond to interannual ocean-atmospheric climate oscillations. Better knowledge of the connections between recruitment and the environment would be valuable for stock management, and improvements for advection predictions are discussed.

Large amounts of plastic discharging from rivers in Java and Bali can potentially pollute many fishing areas in Indonesia. To identify strategies to mitigate this problem, it is important to understand the pathways and destinations of this marine debris. Therefore, the pathways and destinations of debris discharging from 10 major Java and Bali rivers were investigated using a Lagrangian particle tracking model. The amount of floating plastic discharging from each river was determined by the population in each river catchment area, the Mismanaged Plastic Waste ratio, and precipitation. Our study demonstrated that plastic debris pathways in Java and Bali primarily follow surface currents and are secondarily driven by wind toward the Indian Ocean. Around Indonesia, the prevailing monsoonal circulation plays an important role in determining the destination of floating debris. A larger amount of debris was discharged into the seas around Indonesia during the northwest winter monsoon when the precipitation rate was higher, leading to a considerable accumulation of debris in various Indonesian fisheries management areas. The areas most affected were Southern Java, Western Sumatra, and the Banda Sea in descending order. The most effect way of reducing the debris over Southern Java was reducing mismanaged plastic over Yogyakarta, Banten, and Bali provinces or along Progo River.

Microplastic particles move three-dimensionally through the ocean, but modeling studies often do not consider size-dependent vertical transport processes. In addition, microplastic fragmentation in ocean environments remains poorly understood, despite fragments making up the majority of microplastic pollution in terms of the number of particles and despite its potential role in mass removal. Here, we first investigate the role of particle size and density on the large-scale transport of microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea and next analyze how fragmentation may affect transport and mass loss of plastics. For progressively smaller particle sizes, microplastics are shown to be less likely to be beached and more likely to reach open water. Smaller particles also generally get mixed deeper, resulting in lower near-surface concentrations of small particles despite their higher total abundance. Microplastic fragmentation is shown to be dominated by beach-based fragmentation, with ocean-based fragmentation processes likely having negligible influence. However, fragmentation remains a slow process acting on decadal time scales and as such likely does not have a major influence on the large-scale distribution of microplastics and mass loss over periods less than 3 years.

The Galapagos Marine Reserve was established in 1986 to ensure protection of the islands' unique biodiversity. Unfortunately, the islands are polluted by marine plastic debris and the island authorities face the challenge to effectively remove plastic from its shorelines due to limited resources. To optimise efforts, we have identified the most effective cleanup locations on the Galapagos Islands using network theory. A network is constructed from a Lagrangian simulation describing the flow of macroplastic between the various islands within the Galapagos Marine Reserve, where the nodes represent locations along the coastline and the edges the likelihood for plastic to travel from one location and beach at another. We have found four network centralities that provide the best coastline ranking to optimise the cleanup effort based on various impact metrics. In particular locations with a high retention rate are favourable for cleanup. The results indicate that using the most effective centrality for finding cleanup locations is a good strategy for heavily polluted regions if the distribution of marine plastic debris on the coastlines is unknown and limited cleanup resources are available.

The North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) is a crucial component of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and is therefore an important factor of the climate system. In order to estimate the mean relative contributions, sources, and pathways of the NADW at the southern exit of the Labrador Sea, a Lagrangian particle experiment is performed. The particles were seeded according to the strength of the velocity field along the 53∘N section and traced 40 years backward in time in the three-dimensional velocity and hydrography field. The resulting transport pathways, their sources and corresponding transit timescales were inferred. Our experiment shows that, of the 30.1Sv of NADW passing 53∘N on average, the majority of this water is associated with a diapycnal mass flux without contact to the atmosphere, accounting for 14.3Sv (48%), where 6.2Sv originate from the Labrador Sea, compared to 4.7Sv from the Irminger Sea. The second-largest contribution originates from the mixed layer with 7.2Sv (24%), where the Labrador Sea contribution (5.9Sv) dominates over the Irminger Sea contribution (1.0Sv). Another 5.7Sv (19%) of NADW crosses the Greenland–Scotland Ridge within the NADW density class, where about two-thirds pass the Denmark Strait, while one-third crosses the Iceland–Scotland Ridge. The NADW exported at 53∘N is hence dominated by entrainment through the diapycnal mass flux and mixed-layer origin in the Labrador Sea.

Output from a high-resolution ocean model, a wind reanalysis and a particle tracking tool are used to improve our understanding of the shelf circulation in an embayment off South Africa's east coast, known as the KwaZulu-Natal Bight. This region spans across roughly 140 km of coastline and is located between 29°S and 30°S. It is influenced by the strong, south-westward flowing Agulhas Current on its offshore edge, while its shelf is dominated by weak and variable currents. On the KwaZulu-Natal Bight's shelf, realistic high-resolution model simulations indicate the presence of a mean north-eastward flow: the Natal Bight Coastal Counter-Current. The mean surface circulation depicts a Natal Bight Coastal Counter Current stretching along the 50 m isobath from the southern to the northern section of the KwaZulu-Natal Bight while progressively becoming narrower and weaker northwards. The mean vertical structure of this counter current extends throughout the water column and at its origin, it almost connects with the Agulhas Undercurrent. In this region, the Natal Bight Coastal Counter-Current is about 20 km wide and has an average speed of 20 cm/s at its core, which may exceed 100 cm/s during individual events. The passage of southward propagating anticyclonic eddies offshore of the Agulhas Current are associated with a southward flow along the southern KwaZulu-Natal Bight region and the interruption of the otherwise north-eastward shelf currents. While the circulation in the KwaZulu-Natal Bight is primarily driven by perturbations at the Agulhas Current front, there is also some indication of a direct wind-driven influence in coastal waters, inshore of the 50 m isobath and north of 29.5°S. Virtual particle tracking experiments show that the Natal Bight Coastal Counter Current may increase connectivity between Marine Protected Areas within the KwaZulu-Natal Bight, where the current greatly increases the water retention. This may trap nutrients from coastal origins on the shelf, together with any suspended particles such as larvae. Therefore, the Natal Bight Coastal Counter-Current has the potential to increase the suitability of this habitat for larval settlement.

Larval dispersal and connectivity have important implications for fisheries management, especially for species with life cycles influenced by ocean boundary currents. Giant Mud Crab (Scylla serrata) and Blue Swimmer Crab (Portunus armatus) are two estuarine portunid crabs (Family: Portunidae) that support significant commercial and recreational harvest in eastern Australia. Giant Mud Crab migrate to coastal waters to spawn, and while Blue Swimmer Crab spawn primarily within estuaries they occasionally migrate to coastal waters to spawn, followed by larval dispersal in the East Australian Current (EAC). Here, we coupled a high-resolution oceanographic model with a Lagrangian particle tracking framework to simulate larval dispersal and determine the extent of population connectivity in this region. Our simulations indicate broad-scale connectivity (~40–400 km), characterised by high inter-estuary connectivity. Overall, our results suggest a north-to-south source-sink structure for both species, with contributions of particles from the north ranging from 51% to 99%. Recruitment to a given estuary is dependent on the proximity of mesoscale oceanographic features of the EAC. Most notably, the EAC separation acts as a barrier to recruitment between spawning and settlement to the north/south of this region. This significantly limits interjurisdictional connectivity for these species, especially Blue Swimmer Crab, likely due to a shorter pelagic larval duration than Giant Mud Crab. Our results provide evidence to inform the assessment and management of these species.

Context: The spanner crab (Ranina ranina) stock of eastern Australia is distributed across two state jurisdictions and, as a non-migratory species with a pelagic larval phase, connectivity within this stock is likely to occur by larval dispersal, driven by ocean currents. Aims: To understand connectivity and patterns of larval supply in the eastern Australian spanner crab stock. Methods: Lagrangian particle tracking methods were used to simulate larval transport around the key spanner crab fishing regions in eastern Australia. Key results: Spawning off central Queensland (Qld) supplies a large proportion of recruits, supporting both the Qld and New South Wales (NSW) fisheries. Lagged larval settlement showed significant correlations to catch-per-unit-effort and the proportion of total harvest taken within the NSW fishery, providing evidence to suggest that the NSW fishery may be reliant on spawning activity in Queensland. Conclusions: The Qld and NSW fisheries are highly connected and the broad-scale patterns identified by the current modelling approach could provide an indicator of potentially good or bad recruitment years, particularly as finer resolution, and refined reproductive biology knowledge on spanner crabs becomes available. Implications: The Qld and NSW fisheries are highly connected with a source–sink structure and it is recommended that a co-management strategy be adopted.

Lagrangian flow data in oceanography are highly complex, encompassing not only the underpinning Eulerian, advective, vectorial flow fields and the three-dimensional position coordinates of tracer particles but also supplementary trajectory information such as interaction radii of particles, lifecycle source-to-sink information and biochemical process data. Visualising all those data cooperatively in its three-dimensional context is a prime challenge, as it demands to present all relevant information to enable a contextual analysis of the flow process while preventing the most commonly-occurring perceptual issues of clutter, colourisation conflicts, artefacts and the lack of spatial references in fluid-flow applications. In this article, we present visualisation design approaches for 4D spatio-temporal data in their context and introduce a novel colour-mapping approach for 3D velocity tensors. The employed visualisation approach is evaluated towards perceptual adequacy and efficacy with respect to algebraic visualisation design and on an oceanographic case study. The technical and perceptual elements have further implications and applications for still-picture and animated volumetric visualisation design in related applications of the natural sciences, such as geological flow mapping.

Model simulations of past climates are increasingly found to compare well with proxy data at a global scale, but regional discrepancies remain. A persistent issue in modeling past greenhouse climates has been the temperature difference between equatorial and (sub-)polar regions, which is typically much larger in simulations than proxy data suggest. Particularly in the Eocene, multiple temperature proxies suggest extreme warmth in the southwest Pacific Ocean, where model simulations consistently suggest temperate conditions. Here, we present new global ocean model simulations at 0.1° horizontal resolution for the middle-late Eocene. The eddies in the high-resolution model affect poleward heat transport and local time-mean flow in critical regions compared to the noneddying flow in the standard low-resolution simulations. As a result, the high-resolution simulations produce higher surface temperatures near Antarctica and lower surface temperatures near the equator compared to the low-resolution simulations, leading to better correspondence with proxy reconstructions. Crucially, the high-resolution simulations are also much more consistent with biogeographic patterns in endemic-Antarctic and low-latitude-derived plankton, and thus resolve the long-standing discrepancy of warm subpolar ocean temperatures and isolating polar gyre circulation. The results imply that strongly eddying model simulations are required to reconcile discrepancies between regional proxy data and models, and demonstrate the importance of accurate regional paleobathymetry for proxy-model comparisons.

An accurate representation of physical and biological processes is crucial to resolve larval dispersal pathways and characterize connectivity of coral reef ecosystems. We investigate how hydrodynamic forcings drive larval retention rates during the bi-annual mass coral spawning of the coral genus Acropora within a coral reef atoll (Mermaid Reef), located off northwestern Australia. By analyzing hydrodynamic conditions during 41yr of historical spring and autumn coral spawning events, we identify typical and extreme hydrodynamic forcing conditions. Particle tracking using the output from a fine-scale coupled wave-flow hydrodynamic model forced with typical hydrodynamic conditions during coral spawning, revealed a mean transport of larvae eastward across the atoll. Transport was mainly driven by a combination of wave and tidal currents, where the residual tidal flow and unidirectional wave flow increased the net export of particles, and the oscillatory tidal (non-residual) flow reduced the net export of particles from the reef. Importantly, however, numerical simulations forced with extreme hydrodynamic conditions generated by episodic tropical cyclones (11 out of 41yr) showed large deviations from the typical eastward flow during autumn spawning, generating different connectivity pathways within the reef. Considering the substantial time larvae can be retained within reef systems, overlooking fine-scale hydrodynamic processes may greatly overestimate larval transport distances between adjacent coral reef atolls. As a result, we emphasize the need to consider fine-scale hydrodynamic processes within regional connectivity predictions, which is generally not considered yet critical to understand the capacity of reefs to recover following disturbances.

Microbes play a primary role in aquatic ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. Spatial patchiness is a critical factor underlying these activities, influencing biological productivity, nutrient cycling and dynamics across trophic levels. Incorporating spatial dynamics into microbial models is a long-standing challenge, particularly where small-scale turbulence is involved. Here, we combine a fully 3D direct numerical simulation of convective mixed layer turbulence, with an individual-based microbial model to test the key hypothesis that the coupling of gyrotactic motility and turbulence drives intense microscale patchiness. The fluid model simulates turbulent convection caused by heat loss through the fluid surface, for example during the night, during autumnal or winter cooling or during a cold-air outbreak. We find that under such conditions, turbulence-driven patchiness is depth-structured and requires high motility: Near the fluid surface, intense convective turbulence overpowers motility, homogenising motile and non-motile microbes approximately equally. At greater depth, in conditions analogous to a thermocline, highly motile microbes can be over twice as patch-concentrated as non-motile microbes, and can substantially amplify their swimming velocity by efficiently exploiting fast-moving packets of fluid. Our results substantiate the predictions of earlier studies, and demonstrate that turbulence-driven patchiness is not a ubiquitous consequence of motility but rather a delicate balance of motility and turbulent intensity.

Most marine plastic pollution originates on land. However, once plastic is at sea, it is difficult to determine its origin. Here we present a Bayesian inference framework to compute the probability that a piece of plastic found at sea came from a particular source. This framework combines information about plastic emitted by rivers with a Lagrangian simulation, and yields maps indicating the probability that a particle sampled somewhere in the ocean originates from a particular river source. We showcase the framework for floating river-sourced plastic released into the South Atlantic Ocean. We computed the probability as a function of the particle age at three locations, showing how probabilities vary according to the location and age. We computed the source probability of beached particles, showing that plastic found at a given latitude is most likely to come from the closest river source. This framework lays the basis for source attribution of marine plastic.

We study the peculiar motion of inertial solid particles across stratified turbulent/non-turbulent interfaces (STNTI). Previous studies in quiescent stratified layers demonstrated that inertial particles slow down substantially due to an additional force term related to the stratification. Here we report for the first time a similar effect on inertial particles moving across a two-layer STNTI of finite thickness. This problem is addressed both experimentally and numerically: we utilize the three-dimensional particle tracking velocimetry (3D-PTV) in a index-matched STNTI experiment under an oscillating grid, and two direct numerical simulation (DNS) cases of STNTI. The DNSs test the effects of different turbulent forcings on inertial spheres in the turbulent layer and across STNTI and extends the parameter ranges of Reynolds and Froude numbers unfeasible in the experiments. Turbulence is produced in the DNSs using a convective forcing (heat source at the domain boundary) in one case, and a forcing that mimics a vertically oscillating grid in the other. The numerical spheres are tracked, through one-way coupling approach, using a modified Basset–Boussinesq–Oseen equation which includes a stratification-induced term. The stratification force is modelled as an additional buoyancy of a caudal wake with varying density. This algorithm creates Lagrangian trajectories that resemble the motion of inertial particles across stratified interfaces in quiescent and turbulent experiments. Furthermore, numerical results for the STNTI cases help to distinguish the essential features observed in the experiments that are caused by stratification from those that relate to turbulence–particle interactions.

The North Atlantic Ocean is a key region for carbon sequestration by the biological carbon pump (BCP). The quantity of organic carbon exported from the surface, the region and depth at which it is remineralized, and the subsequent timescale of ventilation (return of the remineralized carbon back into contact with the atmosphere), control the magnitude of BCP sequestration. Carbon stored in the ocean for >100 years is assumed to be sequestered for climate-relevant timescales. We apply Lagrangian tracking to an ocean circulation and marine biogeochemistry model to determine the fate of North Atlantic organic carbon export. Organic carbon assumed to undergo remineralization at each of three vertical horizons (500, 1,000, and 2,000 m) is tracked to determine how much remains out of contact with the atmosphere for 100 years. The fraction that remains below the mixed layer for 100 years is defined as the sequestration efficiency (SEff) of remineralized exported carbon. For exported carbon remineralized at the 500, 1,000 and 2,000 m horizons, the SEff is 28%, 66% and 94%, respectively. Calculating the amount of carbon sequestered using depths ≤1,000 m, and not accounting for downstream ventilation, overestimates 100-year carbon sequestration by at least 39%. This work has implications for the accuracy of future carbon sequestration estimates, which may be overstated, and for carbon management strategies (e.g., oceanic carbon dioxide removal and Blue Carbon schemes) that require long-term sequestration to be successful.

Recently, a number of authors have used global particle tracking simulations to identify the effect that different surface currents have on marine litter accumulation, including the role of surface waves through the Stokes drift. However, in the upper-ocean boundary layer and in the presence of the Coriolis force, a wave-driven Eulerian flow forms that must be superimposed onto the Stokes drift in order to obtain the correct Lagrangian velocity. Taking into account both the Coriolis–Stokes force and the surface wave stress, Higgins, Vanneste, and van den Bremer (2020) derived an expression for this unsteady wave-driven Eulerian-mean flow in the form of a convolution between the Stokes drift and the so-called Ekman–Stokes kernel. In this paper, we apply this Ekman–Stokes kernel to generate a 12-year global hindcast of the wave-driven Eulerian current and show that its inclusion in particle tracking simulations has a significant effect on the distribution of small floating marine litter, such as microplastics. Using Lagrangian simulations, we find that the wave-driven Eulerian current is sensitive to the value of viscosity but generally opposes the dispersive behaviour of the Stokes drift, reducing the amount of cross-Equator particle transport and transport to the polar regions, resulting in closer agreement between modelled and observed microplastic distributions.

Ichthyoplankton assemblages in the south central Tyrrhenian Sea are not known in spite of this being an intensely fished area. There are two large canyons in this region: Dohrn, in the Gulf of Naples, and Cuma, at the south end of the Gulf of Gaeta. In this study, we provide the first description of summer ichthyoplankton assemblages in the vicinity of the two canyons and present the physical features and Lagrangian particle tracking analyses at the time of the sampling. We identified fish larvae of 19 families and fish eggs of 8 families. The most abundant species was Engraulis encrasicolus, which was found at densities comparable to other known spawning grounds of the western Mediterranean. Mesopelagic species, such as Gonostomatidae and Myctophidae, were also abundant, especially at the Cuma Canyon. The notochord and standard length of the E. encrasicolus larvae ranged from 2.06 to 10.47mm and was significantly smaller at the Cuma stations than at the Dohrn stations, suggesting the presence of sub-populations with different spawning phenologies. The passive particle tracking analyses and the examination of currents confirmed distinct circulation features between the two sampled regions and in relation to depth and proximity to the canyon heads. These results uncover previously unknown rich assemblages of fish eggs and larvae and have conservation and management implications given the proximity of these canyons to a marine protected area and to an intensely fished continental shelf.

Retention is a key driver of biological productivity near the coast since increased concentrations of planktonic particles in retention hotspots boost local primary production, availability of particulate food and larval recruitment. Known retention sites, such as bays, are also places where anthropogenic pressures accumulate in the form of pollution, harmful algal blooms, fisheries, aquaculture and port developments. In the face of these growing hazards, South African bays were recently declared ‘threatened’ priority sites for enhanced conservation and marine spatial planning (MSP). Multidisciplinary studies that spatially relate human impacts to physical features (such as retention patterns) and ecological processes (such as primary production) are valuable in this context. This study made use of a high resolution CROCO (Coastal and Regional Ocean Community Model) model along with the Parcels particle-tracking tool to develop a spatio-temporal coastal retention index (CORE) for the South African coastal ocean. To explore links between retention, biological productivity and anthropogenic impacts, a monthly time series of CORE (2001–2012) was evaluated in relation to satellite-derived coastal chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and an index of cumulative human pressure. CORE showed variable temporal relationships with Chl-a among different subregions, however, when integrated over time, their spatial trends and peaks commonly aligned. This was most obvious on the south coast, where retention, Chl-a and human pressures peaked in the majority of bays that characterise this region. In the case of St Helena Bay on the west coast, CORE failed to represent a prominent retentive feature associated with upwelling, due to rapid alongshore advection of particles outside the 25-km retention radius of CORE. Despite this limitation, CORE provided profound insight into the variability of the coastal circulation around South Africa and its coupling with other socio-ecological variables. By contributing a novel data layer for MSP, CORE assists the integrated coastal management of bay ecosystems that face the hazards of multiple destructive uses.

The equatorial retroflection of the North Brazil Current (NBC) into the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) and its posterior tropical recirculation is a major regulator for the returning limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Indeed, most surface and thermocline NBC waters retroflect at the equator all the way into the central and eastern Atlantic Ocean, before they recirculate back through the tropics to the western boundary. Here we use cruise data in the western equatorial Atlantic during April 2010 and reanalysis time series for the equatorial and tropical waters in both hemispheres in order to explore the recirculation pathways and transport variability. During the 1998-2016 period, the annual-mean EUC transports 15.1 ± 1.3 Sv at 32{degree sign}W, with 2.8 ± 0.4 Sv from the North Atlantic and 11.4 ± 1.3 Sv from the South Atlantic. Most of the total EUC transport comes from the western boundary retroflection south of 3{degree sign}N (7.2 ± 0.9 Sv) and a substantial fraction retroflects north of 3{degree sign}N (5.1 ± 0.4 Sv). The South Atlantic Subtropical waters feed the EUC at all thermocline depths while the North Atlantic and South Atlantic tropical waters do so at the surface and upper-thermocline levels. The EUC transport has a pronounced seasonality, with spring and fall maxima and a range of 8.8 Sv. The 18-year of reanalysis data shows a weak yet significant correlation with an Atlantic Niño index, and also suggests an enhanced contribution from the South Atlantic tropical waters during 2008-2016 as compared with 1997-2007.

The fate of (micro)plastic particles in the open ocean is controlled by biological and physical processes. Here, we model the effects of biofouling on the subsurface vertical distribution of spherical, virtual plastic particles with radii of 0.01-1 mm. The biological specifications include the attachment, growth and loss of algae on particles. The physical specifications include four vertical velocity terms: advection, wind-driven mixing, tidally-induced mixing, and the sinking velocity of the biofouled particle. We track 10,000 particles for one year in three different regions with distinct biological and physical properties: the low productivity region of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, the high productivity region of the Equatorial Pacific and the high mixing region of the Southern Ocean. The growth of biofilm mass in the euphotic zone and loss of mass below the euphotic zone result in the oscillatory behaviour of particles, where the larger (0.1-1.0 mm) particles have much shorter average oscillation lengths (<10 days; 90th percentile) than the smaller (0.01-0.1 mm) particles (up to 130 days; 90th percentile). A subsurface maximum particle concentration occurs just below the mixed layer depth (around 30 m) in the Equatorial Pacific, which is most pronounced for larger particles (0.1-1.0 mm). This occurs since particles become neutrally buoyant when the processes affecting the settling velocity of a particle and the seawater's vertical movement are in equilibrium. Seasonal effects in the subtropical gyre result in particles sinking below the mixed layer depth only during spring blooms, but otherwise remaining within the mixed layer. The strong winds and deepest average mixed layer depth in the Southern Ocean (400 m) result in the deepest redistribution of particles (>5000 m). Our results show that the vertical movement of particles is mainly affected by physical (wind-induced mixing) processes within the mixed layer and biological (biofilm) dynamics below the mixed layer. Furthermore, positively buoyant particles with radii of 0.01-1.0 mm can sink far below the euphotic zone and mixed layer in regions with high near-surface mixing or high biological activity. This work can easily be coupled to other models to simulate open-ocean biofouling dynamics, in order to reach a better understanding of where ocean (micro)plastic ends up.

Spiciness anomalies generated in the salinity maxima region are important for several atmospheric and oceanic factors as they move along the geostrophic pathways towards the equator and resurface. Subduction and injection mechanisms are responsible for the spiciness generation in the South Indian Ocean (SIO) salinity maxima region. Using ECCO data from 1992 to 2017, here we study monthly variations of spiciness associated with both of these mechanisms in the SIO salinity maxima region. Using a Lagrangian approach, we estimated the monthly evolution of the subduction rate. A maximum subduction rate of 35–38 m/mon occurs during September and consequently decreases towards the end of the year. The effective subduction rate in the salinity maxima region shows the dominance of temporal induction (mixed layer tendency) term, with a sharp gradient in total subduction rate along the 30∘S associated with large mixed layer depth variation. Further, a high Turner angle (>66∘) to the south of 30∘S confirms the generation of spiciness by injection mechanism. We found that the decrease in mixed layer salt (MLS) coincides with the increase in salinity below the mixed layer. To explore the significance of MLS changes in spiciness generation, we further addressed the monthly evolution of spiciness through MLS budget. Our results suggest that the entrainment and meridional advection terms are key to monthly variations in MLS changes and thus the spiciness.

Ocean eddies play an important role in the transport and mixing processes of the ocean due to their ability to transport material, heat, salt, and other tracers across large distances. They exhibit at least two timescales: an Eulerian lifetime associated with persistent identifiable signatures in gridded fields such as vorticity or sea-surface height and multiple Lagrangian or material coherence timescales that are typically much shorter. We propose a method to study the multiple-timescale material transport, leakage, and entrainment by eddies with their surroundings by constructing sequences of finite-time coherent sets, computed as superlevel sets of dominant eigenfunctions of dynamic Laplace operators. The dominant eigenvalues of dynamic Laplace operators defined on time intervals of varying length allows us to identify a maximal coherence timescale that minimizes the rate of mass loss over a domain per unit flow time. We apply the method to examine the persistence and material coherence of an Agulhas ring, an ocean eddy in the South Atlantic ocean, using particle trajectories derived from a 0.1∘ global numerical ocean simulation. Using a sequence of sliding windows, the method is able to identify and track a persistent eddy feature for a time much longer than the maximal coherence timescale and with considerably larger material transport than the corresponding eddy feature identified from purely Eulerian information. Furthermore, the median residence times of fluid in the identified feature far exceed the timescale over which fully material motion is guaranteed. Through residence time calculations, we find that this particular eddy does not exhibit a long-lived coherent inner core and that the bulk of material transport is performed by the quasi-coherent outer ring of the eddy.

Turbulent mixing is a vital component of vertical particulate transport, but ocean global circulation models (OGCMs) generally have low resolution representations of near-surface mixing. Furthermore, turbulence data is often not provided in OGCM model output. We present 1D parametrizations of wind-driven turbulent mixing in the ocean surface mixed layer, which are designed to be easily included in 3D Lagrangian model experiments. Stochastic transport is computed by Markov-0 or Markov-1 models, and we discuss the advantages/disadvantages of two vertical profiles for the vertical diffusion coefficient Kz. All vertical diffusion profiles and stochastic transport models lead to stable concentration profiles for buoyant particles, which for particles with rise velocities of 0.03 and 0.003 m/s agree relatively well with concentration profiles from field measurements of microplastics when Langmuir-circulation-driven turbulence is accounted for. Markov-0 models provide good model performance for integration timesteps of dt = 30 seconds, and can be readily applied in studying the behaviour of buoyant particulates in the ocean. Markov-1 models do not consistently improve model performance relative to Markov-0 models, and require an additional parameter that is poorly constrained.

Coastlines potentially harbor a large part of litter entering the oceans such as plastic waste. The relative importance of the physical processes that influence the beaching of litter is still relatively unknown. Here, we investigate the beaching of litter by analyzing a data set of litter gathered along the Dutch North Sea coast during extensive beach cleanup efforts between the years 2014-2019. This data set is unique in the sense that data is gathered consistently over various years by many volunteers (a total of 14,000), on beaches which are quite similar in substrate (sandy). This makes the data set valuable to identify which environmental variables play an important role in the beaching process, and to explore the variability of beach litter concentrations. We investigate this by fitting a random forest machine learning regression model to the observed litter concentrations. We find that especially tides play an important role, where an increasing tidal variability and tidal height lead to less litter found on beaches. Relatively straight and exposed coastlines appear to accumulate more litter. The regression model indicates that transport of litter through the marine environment is also important in explaining beach litter variability. By understanding which processes cause the accumulation of litter on the coast, recommendations can be given for more effective removal of litter from the marine environment, such as organizing beach cleanups during low tides at exposed coastlines. We estimate that 16,500-31,200 kilograms (95% confidence interval) of litter are located on the 365 kilometers of Dutch North Sea coastline.

In the eastern Alboran Sea, frontogenesis (FG) is a dominant process for fronts extending from the Spanish coast toward the basin interior, promoting large vertical displacements that connect the surface mixed layer with the oceanic interior. Using a realistic, high-resolution model simulation for this region, we conduct the offline advection of virtual water parcels released near the surface during a 2-day episode of intense FG. Three-dimensional trajectories exhibit high variability depending on the release location, and some large, rapid vertical displacements are induced by different coherent submesoscale flow patterns and by interactions among them: Ageostrophic secondary circulation associated with strain- and mixing-induced FG and internal waves generated by currents over topography. These deep displacements mostly are irreversible, at least on a short time scale, because of the rapidly changing flow patterns. Significant diapycnal mixing and density changes occur along trajectories as they pass through the surface and bottom boundary layers. While we expect these processes to be typical for this region, the computational expense of such a Lagrangian analysis and the complexity of its outcome present a considerable challenge for more comprehensive assessments.

Some lipid-biomarker-based sea surface temperature (SST) proxies applied in the modern Mediterranean Sea exhibit large offsets from expected values, generating uncertainties in climate reconstructions. Lateral transport of proxy carriers along ocean currents prior to burial can contribute to this offset between reconstructed and expected SSTs. We perform virtual particle tracking experiments to simulate transport prior to and during sinking and derive a quantitative estimate of transport bias for alkenones and glycerol dibiphytanyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs), which form the basis of the UK'37 and TEX86 paleothermometers, respectively. We use a simple 30-day surface advection scenario and sinking speeds appropriate for the export of various proxy carriers (6, 12, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, and 1000 md-1). For the assessed scenarios, lateral transport bias is generally small (always <0.85 {degree sign}C) within the Mediterranean Sea and does not substantially contribute to uncertainties in UK'37- or TEX86-based SSTs.

Marine particles are important regulators of the biogeochemistry of many trace elements and isotopes in the ocean, and as such, there has been an increasing motivation to unravel the processes which control their cycling. Here, we present vertical distributions of total particulate trace elements (Al, V, Fe, Mn and P) and particulate organic carbon and particulate nitrogen (POC and pN) collected during the GEOTRACES Canadian cruise in 2015 in the Canada Basin (CB), the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA), Baffin Bay (BB) and the Labrador Sea (LS), where particulate trace metal data are scarce. While particulate trace elements are generally affected by one–dimensional dynamics in ocean waters (e.g. deposition, scavenging/remineralization, and sinking), lateral transport of lithogenic–derived particles (pAl, pV and pFe) plays a dominant role in shaping their distributions in the deep CB, BB and LS basins. Higher concentrations of the aforementioned particulate trace elements are measured along the flow path of boundary currents and in near–bottom waters. Unlike pAl, pV and pFe, primarily controlled by lithogenic sources, bulk pMn distributions in our study regions (with the exception of LS) are dominated by authigenic Mn+3/4 oxides, with distinctively high concentrations in CB and BB subsurface halocline waters, as well as in the deepest samples in BB. Enhanced bacterially-mediated Mn+2 oxide formation is anticipated to occur in these halocline waters which have the potential to sustain large populations of Mn oxidizing bacteria as result of the close sediment-water interactions and distinct environmental conditions of these water masses. Overall, the highest concentrations of pP, POC and pN occurred in surface and near–surface waters (> 100 m) at the same density as a chlorophyll-a peak and transmissivity drop, with a clear west–east increasing concentration gradient from the CB to LS. In summary, biogeochemical cycles of particulate elements in the Canadian Arctic Ocean are controlled by enhanced lateral transport and sediment resuspension (pAl, pFe and pV), authigenic formation of Mn and biological production (pP, POC and pN).

Beaches are thought to be a large reservoir for marine plastics. To protect vulnerable beaches, it is advantageous to have information on the sources of this plastic. Here, we develop a universally applicable Bayesian framework to map sources of plastic arriving on a specific beach. In this framework, we combine Lagrangian backtracking simulations of drifting particles with estimates of plastic input from coastlines, rivers and fisheries. The advantage over traditional Lagrangian simulations is that the Bayesian framework can consider information on known sources, and thus facilitates spatiotemporal source attribution for plastic arriving at the specified beach. We show that the main sources for our target beach in southwest Netherlands are the east coast of the UK, the Dutch coast, the English Channel (fisheries) and the Thames, Seine, Rhine and Trieux (rivers). We also show that floating time is a major uncertainty in source attribution using backtracking.

Having descended through the water column, microplankton in ocean sediments are representative for the ocean surface environment, where they originated from. Sedimentary microplankton is therefore used as an archive of past and present surface oceanographic conditions. However, these particles are advected by turbulent ocean currents during their sinking journey. So far, it is unknown to what extent this particle advection shapes the microplankton composition in sediments. Here we use global simulations of sinking particles in a strongly eddying global ocean model, and define ocean bottom provinces based on the particle surface origin locations. We find that these provinces can be detected in global datasets of sedimentary microplankton assemblages, demonstrating the effect provincialism has on the composition of sedimentary remains of surface plankton. These provinces explain the microplankton composition, in addition to e.g. ocean surface environment. Connected provinces have implications on the optimal spatial extent of microplankton sediment sample datasets that are used for palaeoceanographic reconstructions, and on the optimal spatial averaging of sediment samples over global datasets.

To capture the effects of mesoscale turbulent eddies, coarse-resolution Eulerian ocean models resort to tracer diffusion parameterizations. Likewise, the effect of eddy dispersion needs to be parameterized when computing Lagrangian pathways using coarse flow fields. Dispersion in Lagrangian simulations is traditionally parameterized by random walks, equivalent to diffusion in Eulerian models. Beyond random walks, there is a hierarchy of stochastic parameterizations, where stochastic perturbations are added to Lagrangian particle velocities, accelerations, or hyper-accelerations. These parameterizations are referred to as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd order “Markov models” (Markov-N), respectively. Most previous studies investigate these parameterizations in two-dimensional setups, often restricted to the ocean surface. On the other hand, the few studies that investigated Lagrangian dispersion parameterizations in three dimensions, where dispersion is largely restricted to neutrally buoyant surfaces, have focused only on random walk (Markov-0) dispersion. Here, we present a three-dimensional isoneutral formulation of the Markov-1 model. We also implement an anisotropic, shear-dependent formulation of random walk dispersion, originally formulated as a Eulerian diffusion parameterization. Random walk dispersion and Markov-1 are compared using an idealized setup as well as more realistic coarse and coarsened (50 km) ocean model output. While random walk dispersion and Markov-1 produce similar particle distributions over time when using our ocean model output, Markov-1 yields Lagrangian trajectories that better resemble trajectories from eddy-resolving simulations. Markov-1 also yields a smaller spurious dianeutral flux.

As the resolution of observations and models improves, emerging evidence indicates that ocean variability on 1–200-km scales is of fundamental importance to ocean circulation, air-sea interaction, and biogeochemistry. In many regions, salinity variability dominates over thermal effects in forming density fronts. Unfortunately, current satellite observations of sea surface salinity (SSS) only resolve scales ≥40 km (or larger, depending on the product). In this study, we investigate small-scale variability (≲25 km) by reconstructing gridded SSS observations made by the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Using altimetric geostrophic currents, we numerically advect SMAP SSS fields to produce a Lagrangian reconstruction that represents small scales. Reconstructed fields are compared to in-situ salinity observations made by a ship-board thermosalinograph, revealing a marked improvement in small-scale salinity variability when compared to the original SMAP fields, particularly from the continental shelf to the Gulf Stream. In the Sargasso Sea, however, both SMAP and the reconstructed fields contain higher variability than is observed in situ. Enhanced small-scale salinity variability is concentrated in two bands: a northern band aligned with the continental shelfbreak and a southern band aligned with the Gulf Stream mean position. Seasonal differences in the small-scale variability appear to covary with the seasonal cycle of the large-scale SSS gradients resulting from the freshening of the coastal waters during periods of elevated river outflow.

Knowledge about the early life history of Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) is still incomplete, particularly on the spatial and temporal extent of spawning and the subsequent transport of eggs, larvae, and juveniles from the offshore spawning areas to the continental shelf. This study used a high-resolution hydrodynamic model to investigate the impact of ocean circulation and sea-ice drift on the dispersal of eggs, larvae, and juvenile Antarctic toothfish. The virtual eggs were released on seamounts of the Pacific-Antarctic ridge in the Ross Gyre and advected using hydrodynamical model data. Particles were seeded annually over the years 2002–2016 and tracked for 3 years after their release. Recruitment success was evaluated based on the number of juveniles that reached known coastal recruitment areas, between the eastern Ross and Amundsen Seas, within 3 years. Sensitivities to certain juvenile behaviors were explored and showed that recruitment success was reduced by around 70% if juveniles drifted with sea-ice during the second winter season as this carried them into the open ocean away from the shelf region. Recruitment success increased during the second winter season if juveniles were entrained in the Ross Gyre circulation or if they actively swam toward the shelf. These modeling results suggest that the ecological advantage of sea-ice association in the early life cycle of toothfish diminishes as they grow, promoting a behavior change during their second winter.

Tropical instability vortices (TIVs) have a major influence on the physics and biogeochemistry of the equatorial Pacific. Using an eddy-resolving configuration of the Community Earth System Model (CESM-HR) and Lagrangian particle tracking, we examine TIV impacts on the three-dimensional structure and variability of dissolved oxygen (O2) in the upper equatorial Pacific water column. In CESM-HR, the simulated generation and westward propagation of TIVs from boreal summer through winter lead to the seasonal oxygenation of the upper northern equatorial Pacific, exhibited as a deepening of hypoxic depth west of 120°W. TIV effects on the equatorial Pacific oxygen balance are dominated by eddy-advection and mixing, while indirect TIV effects on O2 consumption play minor roles. These advective effects reflect the transient displacements of isopycnals by eddy pumping as well as vortex transport of oxygen by eddy trapping, stirring, and subduction. TIVs influence on the upper equatorial Pacific O2 distribution and variability has important implications for understanding and modeling marine ecosystem dynamics and habitats, and should be taken into consideration in designing observation networks in this region.

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia with a high population density, which affects the amount of waste generated. The waste that ends up in Jakarta Bay has become an environmental problem. Understanding the pathway of marine debris in the ocean is important to identify the mitigation strategies. Before this study, the pathways and sources of marine debris in Jakarta Bay were unknown. By using virtual floating marine debris particles in a high-resolution ocean model, the fate of marine debris based on the pathways of particles released in Jakarta Bay in both forward and backward tracking experiments was analyzed. It was found that most of the particles from Jakarta Bay flow toward the Indian Ocean in all seasons. They flow off through the Sunda Strait and reach the open Indian Ocean after a few weeks. With regard to the source location, most particles that end up in Jakarta Bay come from the north of Java Island locally and from the Gulf of Thailand, Sumatra, and Kalimantan coasts. The particles do not appear to vary significantly across all seasons and identifying the pathway of marine debris might be useful in pollution reduction.

Identifying internal waves in complex flow fields is a long-standing problem in fluid dynamics, oceanography and atmospheric science, owing to the overlap of internal waves temporal and spatial scales with other flow regimes. Lagrangian filtering—that is, temporal filtering in a frame of reference moving with the flow—is one proposed methodology for performing this separation. Here we (a) describe an improved implementation of the Lagrangian filtering methodology and (b) introduce a new freely available, parallelized Python package that applies the method. We show that the package can be used to directly filter output from a variety of common ocean models including MITgcm, Regional Ocean Modeling System and MOM5 for both regional and global domains at high resolution. The Lagrangian filtering is shown to be a useful tool to both identify (and thereby quantify) internal waves, and to remove internal waves to isolate the non-wave flow field.

The present study investigates the advective pathways and transit times of virtual particles released in the Red Sea outflow area as a proxy for the poorly understood spreading of the Red Sea Overflow Water (RSOW) in the Arabian Sea. This work uses the Parcels toolbox, a Lagrangian framework, to simulate tens of thousands of trajectories under different initial conditions. Six different Lagrangian simulations are performed at isobaric and isopycnal surfaces within the RSOW layer. All simulations are based on the eddy-rich GLORYS12 reanalysis that merges almost all in-situ (temperature-salinity) and satellite observations collected over the last two decades into a dynamical framework. This study shows that GLORYS12 reproduces relatively well the climatological seasonal cycle of the RSOW to the Gulf of Aden and essential characteristics of the exchange at the Strait of Bab al-Mandab. Statistical comparisons between synthetic trajectories and RAFOS floats in the Gulf of Aden corroborate the quality of GLORYS12 velocity fields used for the Lagrangian simulations. Six main advective pathways are uncovered (by order of preference): Southwest, Northwest, Socotra Passage, Central, Eastern, and Southern. Trajectories from Argo floats give observational support for some of these paths. Although most particles are exported out of the Arabian Sea off Somalia, the simulations reveal robust connectivity of the RSOW to the Arabian Sea interior and its eastern boundary. The fact that particles have long trajectories in the interior increases the potential of RSOW mixing with the fresher and oxygen-poor ambient waters. Thus, these pathways may have profound implications for the salt and oxygen budgets in the Arabian Sea since the RSOW is also part of the global overturning circulation and exported out of the Indian Ocean via the Agulhas Current. Transit time distributions indicate that it takes about six months for outflow-originated particles to spread over the entire Gulf of Aden and one to three years to be exported along the western boundary, toward Somalia (Socotra Passage and Southwest pathways) and off the Yemeni-Omani coast (Northwest Pathway). In contrast, reaching the eastern boundary takes much longer. North of 14 N, the most frequent time is around 10–15 years, and about 20–25 years at the southeastern Arabian Sea. Hence, the RSOW can often carry oxygen to the western boundary but not to the eastern basin. This may contribute to the eastern shift of the Arabian Sea Oxygen Minimum Zone, a subject that deserves investigation.

Coastal upwellings, due to offshore Ekman transport, are more energetic at the western boundaries of the oceans, where they are intensified by incoming Rossby waves, than at the eastern boundaries. Western boundary upwellings are often accompanied by a local vortex field. The instability of a developed upwelling front and its interaction with an external vortex field is studied here with a three-dimensional numerical model of the hydrostatic rotating Navier-Stokes equations (the primitive equations). The baroclinic instability of the front leads to the growth of meanders with 100-200 km wavelength, in the absence of external vortex. On the 𝑓-plane, these waves can break into a row of vortices when the instability is intense. The 𝛽-effect is stabilizing and strongly decreases the amplitude of meanders. Simulations are then performed with a front initially accompanied by one or several external vortices. The evolutions in this case are compared with those of the unstable jet alone. On the 𝑓-plane, when an external vortex is close to the front, this latter sheds a long filament which wraps up around the vortex. This occurs over a period similar to that of the instability of the isolated front. Cyclones are more efficient in tearing such filaments offshore than anticyclones. On the 𝛽-plane, the filaments are short and turbulence is confined to the vicinity of the front. At long times, waves propagate along the front, thus extending turbulence alongshore. The initial presence of a vortex alley leads to a stronger destabilization of the front and to a larger cross-shore flux than for a single vortex, with many filaments and small vortices pushed far offshore. In the ocean, this cross-shore exchange has important consequences on the local biological activity.

The southern branch of the South Equatorial Current (SSEC) is the northern limit of the South Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. When this current reaches Brazil around 14°S it bifurcates into a southward flow as the Brazil Current (BC) and the surface portion of the northward flowing North Brazil Undercurrent (NBUC). The SSEC system is a key component of the western boundary supply, influencing the NBUC/BC variability and, therefore, global climate through the Meridional Overturning Circulation. In this study, using altimetry satellite data and reanalyzes outputs (1993–2018), we revisit the SSEC mean state and show this current arriving at the South Atlantic western boundary as a multi-banded flow with surface signatures resulting from different subsurface cores. These bands have velocities between 0.02 and 0.07 m s−1 and, as shown by ADCP data from the PIRATA project, their signature in synoptic scenarios is obscured by eddies and waves with velocities between 0.1 and 0.3 m s−1. In addition, the SSEC annual cycle analysis shows that the seasonality of the bands is out of phase with each other, presenting westward transport anomalies between 0.4 and 2.6 Sv. Finally, our results show that the seasonality of this multi-banded flow both defines where the BC is born, and modulates the seasonality of semi-permanent mesoscale eddies off Brazil.

Marine plastics are considered to be a major threat to the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources of the Caribbean, on which the region relies heavily for tourism and fishing. To date, little work has quantified plastics within the Caribbean marine environment or examined their potential sources. This study aimed to address this by holistically integrating marine (surface water, subsurface water and sediment) and terrestrial sampling and Lagrangian particle tracking to examine the potential origins, flows and quantities of plastics within the Southern Caribbean. Terrestrial litter and the microplastics identified in marine samples may arise from the maritime and tourism industries, both of which are major contributors to the economies of the Caribbean region. The San Blas islands, Panama had the highest abundance of microplastics at a depth of 25 m, and significantly greater quantities in surface water than recorded in the other countries. Modelling indicated the microplastics likely arose from mainland Panama, which has some of the highest levels of mismanaged waste. Antigua had among the lowest quantities of terrestrial and marine plastics, yet the greatest diversity of polymers. Modelling indicated the majority of the microplastics in Antiguan coastal surface were likely to have originated from the wider North Atlantic Ocean. Ocean currents influence the movements of plastics and thus the relative contributions arising from local and distant sources which become distributed within a country's territorial water. These transboundary movements can undermine local or national legislation aimed at reducing plastic pollution. While this study presents a snapshot of plastic pollution, it contributes towards the void of knowledge regarding marine plastic pollution in the Caribbean Sea and highlights the need for international and interdisciplinary collaborative research and solutions to plastic pollution.

The Lagrangian analysis of particulate matter, biota and drifters, which are dispersed by turbulent fluid currents, is a cornerstone of oceanographic studies, covering diverse study objectives. The results of Lagrangian simulations and observations is predominantly visualised by means of easy-access plotting interfaces and simple presentation techniques. We analysed over 50 publications from the years 2010–2020 with respect to their visual design to deduce common visualisation practices in the domain. Individual figures are analysed towards adherence to visualisation best-practices, algebraic visualisation guidelines and the IPCC visual style guide. In this article, we present the resulting best-practices and common pitfalls in the design of Lagrangian ocean visualisations. Based on this visual study, we highlight that raising awareness of established visual guidelines may have a higher impact on improving the visual quality of publications in oceanography than the vigorous development of more general-purpose visualisation tools.

The southward flow of North Atlantic Deep Water makes up the major component of the deepwater limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). In the subtropical North Atlantic, it's flow is concentrated along the continental slope, forming a coherent Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC). Both, observations and models show a high variability of the flow in this region. Here we use an eddy-rich ocean model to show that this variability is mainly caused by eddies and meanders. Their formation process involves an important contribution from energy transfer by barotropic instability. They occur along the entire DWBC pathway and introduce several recirculation gyres that result in a decorrelation of the DWBC transport at 26.5°N and 16°N, despite the fact that a considerable mean transport of 20 Sv connects the two latitudes. Water in the DWBC at 26.5°N is partly returned northward. Because the amount of water returned depends on the DWBC transport itself, a stronger DWBC does not necessarily lead to an increased amount of water that reaches 16°N. Along the pathway to 16°N, the transport signal is altered by a broad and temporally variable transit time distribution. Thus, advection in the DWBC cannot account for coherent AMOC changes on interannual timescales seen in the model.

How far do marine larvae disperse in the ocean? Decades of population genetic studies have revealed generally low levels of genetic structure at large spatial scales (hundreds of kilometres). Yet this result, typically based on discrete sampling designs, does not necessarily imply extensive dispersal. Here, we adopt a continuous sampling strategy along 950 km of coast in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea to address this question in four species. In line with expectations, we observe weak genetic structure at a large spatial scale. Nevertheless, our continuous sampling strategy uncovers a pattern of isolation by distance at small spatial scales (few tens of kilometres) in two species. Individual-based simulations indicate that this signal is an expected signature of restricted dispersal. At the other extreme of the connectivity spectrum, two pairs of individuals that are closely related genetically were found more than 290 km apart, indicating long-distance dispersal. Such a combination of restricted dispersal with rare long-distance dispersal events is supported by a high-resolution biophysical model of larval dispersal in the study area, and we posit that it may be common in marine species. Our results bridge population genetic studies with direct dispersal studies and have implications for the design of marine reserve networks.

The constant increase of marine plastic pollution poses an unprecedented risk to oceanic islands, which become increasingly exposed to a hazard of which they have very little control. Located in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, the Macaronesia is comprised by the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, and Cabo Verde. Although past studies suggest that most plastic items collected on these islands are from offshore regions, their actual sources remain unclear to present date. As such, we focus on the characterization of the potential sources and pathways of plastic particles reaching the Macaronesia archipelagos. This is achieved by combining modeled datasets for ocean currents, winds and waves with a Lagrangian tool used to track virtual particles released around the archipelagos for a 10-year period, making a distinction between surface and submerged particles. Global drifter trajectories are also assessed, selecting those that intercept the archipelagos. Our results demonstrate that the North Atlantic subtropical gyre is the most conspicuous feature in particles and drifter trajectories. The Gulf Stream acts as the main pathway for all archipelagos at a regional scale, though with less significance to Cabo Verde. Surface particles are connected to regional sources in a shorter timescale than mixed particles, mainly because of the wind. Intercepting high-windage particle trajectories are dominant at the center of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, demonstrating that particles originating from the North Atlantic “garbage patch” are most likely to intercept the archipelagos if considerably exposed to the wind. Regarding the connectivity to sources, all archipelagos are significantly exposed to areas of intensive fishing activity, mainly those located in the Gulf Stream (Azores), in international waters off the Portuguese coast (Madeira and Canary Islands) and along the Northwestern African coast (Cabo Verde). The east coasts of Central and North America are the main sources of land-based particles reaching the Azores, Madeira, and Canary Islands, whereas the Northwestern African coast is the main source for land-based particles reaching Cabo Verde. Our results demonstrate how vulnerable the Macaronesian archipelagos are to marine plastic pollution, highlighting the urgency for international cooperation to mitigate the exposure of oceanic islands to marine plastic pollution.

Plastic is the most abundant type of marine litter and it is found in all of the world’s oceans and seas, even in remote areas far from human activities. It is a major concern because plastics remain in the oceans for a long time. To address questions that are of great interest to the international community as it seeks to attend to the major sources of marine plastics in the ocean, we use particle tracking simulations to simulate the motions of mismanaged plastic waste and provide a quantitative global estimate of (1) where does the marine litter released into the ocean by a given country go and (2) where does the marine litter found on the coastline of a given country come from. The overall distribution of the modeled marine litter is in good agreement with the limited observations that we have at our disposal and our results illustrate how countries that are far apart are connected via a complex web of ocean pathways (see interactive website https://marinelitter.coaps.fsu.edu). The tables summarizing the statistics for all world countries are accessible from the supplemental information in .pdf or .csv formats.

The ability to provide rapid decision support and more precise search area coordinates for rescuers to conduct search and rescue operations at sea are of high impact value for marine and maritime stakeholders. Search and rescue operations rely on accurate information about metocean conditions to locate objects in the ocean. These include local knowledge, operational ocean and wind forecasts and empirical drift relationships between ocean currents, ocean surface winds and the objects being searched for. To provide more accurate decision support for rescuers looking for persons or objects lost at sea, a virtual particle tracking tool was combined with an empirical Leeway drift model. The Lagrangian Ocean Search Targets (LOST) application builds on a Lagrangian ocean analysis framework which has been adapted to provide real-time estimates of the positions of objects based on operational ocean and wind forecasts. LOST incorporates the impact of ocean currents, surface winds and stochastic motion, the latter being critical in accounting for sub-grid scale processes that are not resolved in the ocean and wind forecasts. This study assesses the accuracy of LOST, demonstrating its feasibility as a decision support tool for search and rescue operations by applying it to three use cases in the South African regional ocean. These use cases are real-life scenarios that highlight the value of combining state-of-the-art ocean and wind forecasting systems with Lagrangian ocean analyses frameworks and sub-grid scale parameterisation to support global operational oceanography.

Microplastic debris ending up at the sea surface has become a known major environmental issue. However, how microplastic particles move and when they sink in the ocean remains largely unknown. Here, we model microplastic subject to biofouling (algal growth on a substrate) to estimate sinking timescales and the time to reach the depth where particles stop sinking. We combine NEMO‐MEDUSA 2.0 output, that represents hydrodynamic and biological properties of seawater, with a particle‐tracking framework. Different sizes and densities of particles (for different types of plastic) are simulated, showing that the global distribution of sinking timescales is largely size‐dependent as opposed to density‐dependent. The smallest particles we simulate (0.1 μm) start sinking almost immediately around the globe and their trajectories take the longest time to reach their first sinking depth (relative to larger particles). In oligotrophic subtropical gyres with low algal concentrations, particles between 1 mm and 10 μm do not sink within the 90‐day simulation time. This suggests that in addition to the comparatively well‐known physical processes, biological processes might also contribute to the accumulation of floating plastic (of 1 mm–10 μm) in subtropical gyres. Particles of 1 μm in the gyres start sinking largely due to vertical advection, whereas in the equatorial Pacific they are more dependent on biofouling. The qualitative impacts of seasonality on sinking timescales are small, however, localised sooner sinking due to spring algal blooms is seen. This study maps processes that affect the sinking of virtual microplastic globally, which could ultimately impact the ocean plastic budget.

Global coastlines potentially contain significant amounts of plastic debris, with harmful implications for marine and coastal ecosystems, fisheries and tourism. However, the global amount, distribution and origin of plastic debris on beaches and in coastal waters is currently unknown. Here we analyse beaching and resuspension scenarios using a Lagrangian particle transport model. Throughout the first 5 years after entering the ocean, the model indicates that at least 77% of positively buoyant marine plastic debris (PBMPD) released from land-based sources is either beached or floating in coastal waters, assuming no further plastic removal from beaches or the ocean surface. The highest concentrations of beached PBMPD are found in Southeast Asia, caused by high plastic inputs from land and limited off-shore transport, although the absolute concentrations are generally overestimates compared to field measurements. The modelled distribution on a global scale is only weakly influenced by local variations in resuspension rates due to coastal geomorphology. Furthermore, there are striking differences regarding the origin of the beached plastic debris. In some Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), such as the Indonesian Archipelago, plastic originates almost entirely from within the EEZ while in other EEZs, particularly remote islands, almost all beached plastic debris arrives from remote sources. Our results highlight coastlines and coastal waters as important reservoirs of marine plastic debris and limited transport of PBMPD between the coastal zone and the open ocean.

The forecast of tropical cyclone (TC) intensity is a significant challenge. In this study, we showcase the impact of strongly coupled data assimilation with hypothetical ocean currents on analyses and forecasts of Typhoon Hato (2017). Several observation simulation system experiments were undertaken with a regional coupled ocean-atmosphere model. We assimilated combinations of (or individually) a hypothetical coastal current HF radar network, a dense array of drifter floats and minimum sea-level pressure. During the assimilation, instant updates of many important atmospheric variables (winds and pressure) are achieved from the assimilation of ocean current observations using the cross-domain error covariance, significantly improving the track and intensity analysis of Typhoon Hato. As compared to a control experiment (with no assimilation), the error of minimum pressure decreased by up to 13 hPa (4 hPa / 57 % on average). The maximum wind speed error decreased by up to 18 knots (5 knots / 41 % on average). By contrast, weakly coupled implementations cannot match these reductions (10% on average). Although traditional atmospheric observations were not assimilated, such improvements indicate there is considerable potential in assimilating ocean currents from coastal HF radar, and surface drifters within a strongly coupled framework for intense landfalling TCs.

The variability of La Guajira upwelling system, in the south-central Caribbean Sea, is strongly influenced by the intensity and location of the atmospheric Caribbean Low-Level Jet (CLLJ), a near-surface branch of the easterlies, as well as by the regional ocean circulation. During favorable conditions (i.e., strong easterlies blowing almost parallel to the coast), upwelling is enhanced and a large amount of primary productivity occurs in La Guajira area. In contrast, during relatively mild wind conditions, the CLLJ is misaligned to the coast and the Caribbean Counter Current (CCC, locally also known as the Darien Current), which forms as a branch from the Panama-Colombia Gyre, flows northeastward over the continental shelf advecting waters from the southwestern Caribbean basin toward La Guajira. The CCC has a clear signature at the surface layer that extends from the Darien Gulf toward La Guajira peninsula during mild wind periods, while disappears during the months of strong winds. The direction and the magnitude of the easterlies, and more specifically of the CLLJ, control the position and pathway of the CCC, which extends more than 900 km in the southern Caribbean Sea during May, June, August, September, and October. The high concentration of chlorophyll-a at the sea surface evidenced by satellite-based color images is semi-seasonally modulated by the CLLJ, which during its relaxation phase allows the irruption of the CCC toward the east up to La Guajira.

Antarctic sea ice is prevalently seen as a major player in the climate system, but it is also an important factor in polar maritime safety. Remote sensing and forecasting of Southern Ocean sea ice at time scales suitable for navigation and research planning remain challenging. In this study, numerical sea ice drift forecasts are assessed from the perspective of informing shipping operations. A series of tests is performed to ascertain whether an operational global ocean and sea ice model and a simple free-drift model can provide accurate drift estimates over short lead times. Both approaches are evaluated against ice drift measurements from buoys deployed during two research cruises in the Southern Ocean marginal ice zone during winter and spring. The numerical forecast model was able to forecast sea ice trajectories over 24 h with an average position error of 16.6 km during winter and 9.2 km during spring. The simpler free-drift model, using empirically optimised wind scaling, returned an average position error of 15.9 and 9.3 km during winter and spring respectively. Model skill for both the dynamical and free-drift models is lower in winter than in spring. Free-drift model skill appears linked with sea ice consolidation, which may assist in determining when and where this approach is fit for purpose. Lingering uncertainties regarding the rheological representation of sea ice in the dynamical model and the quality of the wind and ocean forcing remain, potentially affecting model skill over tactical navigation time frames.

We study the vertical dispersion and distribution of negatively buoyant rigid microplastics within a realistic circulation model of the Mediterranean sea. We first propose an equation describing their idealized dynamics. In that framework, we evaluate the importance of some relevant physical effects: inertia, Coriolis force, small-scale turbulence and variable seawater density, and bound the relative error of simplifying the dynamics to a constant sinking velocity added to a large-scale velocity field. We then calculate the amount and vertical distribution of microplastic particles on the water column of the open ocean if their release from the sea surface is continuous at rates compatible with observations in the Mediterranean. The vertical distribution is found to be almost uniform with depth for the majority of our parameter range. Transient distributions from flash releases reveal a non-Gaussian character of the dispersion and various diffusion laws, both normal and anomalous. The origin of these behaviors is explored in terms of horizontal and vertical flow organization.

The Tropical Atlantic Ocean has recently been the source of enormous amounts of floating Sargassum macroalgae that have started to inundate shorelines in the Caribbean, the western coast of Africa and northern Brazil. It is still unclear, however, how the surface currents carry the Sargassum, largely restricted to the upper meter of the ocean, and whether observed surface drifter trajectories and hydrodynamical ocean models can be used to simulate its pathways. Here, we analyse a dataset of two types of surface drifters (38 in total), purposely deployed in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean in July, 2019. Twenty of the surface drifters were undrogued and reached only ~8 cm into the water, while the other eighteen were standard Surface Velocity Program (SVP) drifters that all had a drogue centered around 15 m depth. We show that the undrogued drifters separate more slowly than the drogued SVP drifters, likely because of the suppressed turbulence due to convergence in wind rows, which was stronger right at the surface than at 15 m depth. Undrogued drifters were also more likely to enter the Caribbean Sea. We also show that the novel Surface and Merged Ocean Currents (SMOC) product from the Copernicus Marine Environmental Service (CMEMS) does not clearly simulate one type of drifter better than the other, highlighting the need for further improvements in assimilated hydrodynamic models in the region, for a better understanding and forecasting of Sargassum drift in the Tropical Atlantic.

To identify barriers to transport in a fluid domain, community detection algorithms from network science have been used to divide the domain into clusters that are sparsely connected with each other. In a previous application to the closed domain of the Mediterranean Sea, communities detected by the Infomap algorithm have barriers that often coincide with well‐known oceanographic features. We apply this clustering method to the surface of the Arctic and subarctic oceans and thereby show that it can also be applied to open domains. First, we construct a Lagrangian flow network by simulating the exchange of Lagrangian particles between different bins in an icosahedral‐hexagonal grid. Then, Infomap is applied to identify groups of well‐connected bins. The resolved transport barriers include naturally occurring structures, such as the major currents. As expected, clusters in the Arctic are affected by seasonal and annual variations in sea‐ice concentration. An important caveat of community detection algorithms is that many different divisions into clusters may qualify as good solutions. Moreover, while certain cluster boundaries lie consistently at the same location between different good solutions, other boundary locations vary significantly, making it difficult to assess the physical meaning of a single solution. We therefore consider an ensemble of solutions to find persistent boundaries, trends and correlations with surface velocities and sea‐ice cover.

The detection of finite-time coherent particle sets in Lagrangian trajectory data using data clustering techniques is an active research field at the moment. Yet, the clustering methods mostly employed so far have been based on graph partitioning, which assigns each trajectory to a cluster, i.e. there is no concept of noisy, incoherent trajectories. This is problematic for applications to the ocean, where many small coherent eddies are present in a large fluid domain. In addition, to our knowledge none of the existing methods to detect finite-time coherent sets has an intrinsic notion of coherence hierarchy, i.e. the detection of finite-time coherent sets at different spatial scales. Such coherence hierarchies are present in the ocean, where basin scale coherence coexists with smaller coherent structures such as jets and mesoscale eddies. Here, for the first time in this context, we use the density-based clustering algorithm OPTICS (Ankerst et al., 1999) to detect finite-time coherent particle sets in Lagrangian trajectory data. Different from partition based clustering methods, OPTICS does not require to fix the number of clusters beforehand. Derived clustering results contain a concept of noise, such that not every trajectory needs to be part of a cluster. OPTICS also has a major advantage compared to the previously used DBSCAN method, as it can detect clusters of varying density. Further, clusters can also be detected based on density changes instead of absolute density. Finally, OPTICS based clusters have an intrinsically hierarchical structure, which allows to detect coherent trajectory sets at different spatial scales at once. We apply OPTICS directly to Lagrangian trajectory data in the Bickley jet model flow and successfully detect the expected vortices and the jet. The resulting clustering separates the vortices and the jet from background noise, with an imprint of the hierarchical clustering structure of coherent, small scale vortices in a coherent, large-scale, background flow. We then apply our method to a set of virtual trajectories released in the eastern South Atlantic Ocean in an eddying ocean model and successfully detect Agulhas rings. At larger scale, our method also separates the eastward and westward moving parts of the subtropical gyre. We illustrate the difference between our approach and partition based k-Means clustering using a 2-dimensional embedding of the trajectories derived from classical multidimensional scaling. We also show how OPTICS can be applied to the spectral embedding of a trajectory based network to overcome the problems of k-Means spectral clustering in detecting Agulhas rings.

Novel 3-D passive particle tracking experiments were performed in the northwest Atlantic to elucidate connectivity among areas closed to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems. We examined (1) the degree of vertical movement of particles released at different depths and locations; (2) the location of potential source populations for the deep-sea taxa protected by the closures; and (3) the degree of functional connectivity. A long-term oceanographic dataset (EN4) was queried to characterize the temperature and salinity regimes in each of the closed areas as a basis for interpreting recently published climate change projections. Using the Parcels Lagrangian particle tracking framework and the BNAM hydrodynamic model, we found enhanced connectivity over previously developed 2-D models and unexpected, current-driven, strong (to a maximum of about 1340 m) downward displacement at depth (450, 1000 and 2250 m), with weaker upward displacement except for the release depth of 2250 m which showed upward movement of 955 m with a drift duration of 3 months. The current velocities create down-stream interdependence among closed areas and allow redundancy to develop in some of the areas of the network, with some of the larger areas also showing retention. Source populations for sponges in the upstream closure are likely in adjacent waters of the Canadian continental shelf. Collectively this information can be used to inform management decisions related to the size and placement of these closed areas, and vertical velocity surfaces have potential for use in species distribution modeling of benthic species and habitats.

Understanding mechanisms of tropical Pacific decadal variability (TPDV) is of high importance for differentiating between natural climate variability and human induced climate change as this region sustains strong global teleconnections. Here, we use an ocean general circulation model along with a Lagrangian tracer simulator to investigate the advection of density compensated temperature anomalies (“spiciness mechanism”) as a potential contributor to TPDV during the 1980–2016 period. Consistent with observations, we find the primary regions of spiciness generation in the eastern subtropics of each hemisphere. Our results indicate that 75% of the equatorial subsurface water originates in the subtropics, of which two thirds come from the Southern hemisphere. We further show two prominent cases where remotely generated spiciness anomalies are advected to the equatorial Pacific, impacting subsurface temperature. The relative contribution of Northern versus Southern Hemisphere prominence and/or interior versus western boundary pathways depends on the specific event. The anomalously warm case largely results from advection via the Southern hemisphere interior (65%), while the anomalously cold case largely results from advection via the Northern hemisphere western boundary (48%). The relatively slow travel times from the subtropics to the equator (> 4 years) suggests that these spiciness anomalies underpin a potentially predictable contribution to TPDV. However, not all decadal peaks in equatorial spiciness can be explained by remotely generated spiciness anomalies. In those cases, we propose that spiciness anomalies are generated in the equatorial zone through changes in the proportion of Northern/Southern hemisphere source waters due to their different mean spiciness distribution.

Connectivity is a fundamental process driving the persistence of marine populations and their adaptation potential in response to environmental change. In this study, we analysed the population genetics of two morphologically highly similar deep-sea sponge clades (Phakellia hirondellei and the ‘Topsentia-and-Petromica’ clade, (hereafter referred to as ‘TaP clade’)) at three locations in the Cantabrian Sea and simultaneously assessed the corresponding host microbiome by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. A virtual particle tracking approach (Lagrangian modelling) was applied to assess oceanographic connectivity in the study area. We observed overall genetic uniformity for both sponge clades. Notably, subtle genetic differences were observed for sponges of the TaP clade and also their microbiomes between a canyon and bank location, < 100 km apart and with the same depth range. The Lagrangian model output suggests a strong retention of larvae in the study area with variable inter-annual connectivity via currents between the three sampling regions. We conclude that geologic features (canyons) and the prevailing ocean currents may dictate sponge holobiont connectivity and that differentiation can emerge even on small spatial scales.

Search and find mission in ocean environment is a none trivial operation given the amount of random parameters associated with it. The uncertain and dynamic aspects related to ocean current movement make the trajectory prediction of drifting lost object onto sea water a very complicated task. In this work we present a novel lost target searching algorithm based on Recursive Area Clustering and target trajectory predication in ocean environment. Based on the widely known GlobCurrent v2 dataset which model the drifting of ocean surface current using satellite sensory data combined with mathematical and simulation modelling, we propose a regression algorithm based on our Recursive Area Clustering algorithm that we have developed previously to determine the strategic zones (weight centers) characterizing the high density areas extracted from drifting target history. Given those weight centers, we predict the object trajectory through refined regression. The predicted lost object trajectory is used to plan the path of UAV search mission. The model developed has a significant impact as we have tested our strategy in a scenario for searching an area covering 68517 km, we have shown that 78% of the time, the lost object can be found within 32 km distance of the predicted trajectories limiting the significant search area to be about 5% of the whole searched area.

A valuable analogue for assessing Earth’s sensitivity to warming is the Last Interglacial (LIG; 129- 116 kyr), when global temperatures (0 to +2CC) and mean sea level (+6 to 11 m) were higher than today. The direct contribution of warmer conditions to global sea level (thermosteric) are uncertain. We report here a global network of LIG sea surface temperatures (SST) obtained from various published temperature proxies (e.g. faunal/floral assemblages, Mg/Ca ratios of calcareous plankton, alkenone UK’37). We summarise the current limitations of SST reconstructions for the LIG and the spatial temperature features of a naturally warmer world. Because of local δ18O seawater changes, uncertainty in the age models of marine cores, and differences in sampling resolution and/or sedimentation rates, the reconstructions are restricted to mean conditions. To avoid bias towards individual LIG SSTs based on only a single (and potentially erroneous) measurement or a single interpolated data point, here we report average values across the entire LIG. Each site reconstruction is given as an anomaly relative to 1981-2010, corrected for ocean drift and where available, seasonal estimates provided (189 annual, 99 December-February, and 92 June-August records). To investigate the sensitivity of the reconstruction to high temperatures, we also report maximum values during the first five millennia of the LIG (129-124 kyr). We find mean global annual SST anomalies of 0.2 ± 0.1C averaged across the LIG and an early maximum peak of 0.9 ± 0.1C respectively. The global dataset provides a remarkably coherent pattern of higher SST increases at polar latitudes than in the tropics (demonstrating the polar amplification of surface temperatures during the LIG), with comparable estimates between different proxies. Polewards of 45 ̊ latitude, we observe annual SST anomalies averaged across the full LIG of >0.8 ± 0.3C in both hemispheres with an early maximum peak of >2.1 ± 0.3C. Using the reconstructed SSTs suggests a mean LIG global thermosteric sea level rise of 0.08 ± 0.1 m and a peak contribution of 0.39 ± 0.1 m respectively (assuming warming penetrated to 2000 m depth). The data provide an important natural baseline for a warmer world, constraining the contributions of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to global sea level during a geographically widespread expression of high sea level, and can be used to test the next inter-comparison of models for projecting future climate change. The dataset described in this paper, including summary temperature and thermosteric sea-level reconstructions, are available at https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.904381 (Turney et al., 2019).

The Mediterranean Sea is characterized by a relatively strong west to east salinity gradient, which makes it an area suitable to test the effect of salinity on foraminiferal shell geochemistry. We collected living specimens of the planktonic foraminifer Globigerinoides ruber (white) to analyse the relation between element/Ca ratios, stable oxygen isotopes of their shells and surface seawater salinity, isotopic composition and temperature. The oxygen isotopes of sea surface water correlate with salinity in the Mediterranean also during winter, when sampled for this study. Sea water oxygen and hydrogen isotopes are positively correlated in both the eastern and western Mediterranean Sea, though especially in the eastern part the relationship differs from values reported previously for that area. The slope between salinity and seawater oxygen isotopes is lower than previously published. Still, despite the rather modest slope, seawater and foraminiferal carbonate oxygen isotopes are correlated in our dataset although with large residuals and high residual variability. This scatter can be due to either biological variability in vital effects or environmental variability. Numerical models backtracking particles show ocean current driven mixing of particles of different origin might dampen sensitivity and could result in an offset caused by horizontal transport. Results show that Na/Ca is positively correlated to salinity and independent of temperature. Foraminiferal Mg/Ca increases with temperature, as expected, and in line with earlier calibrations, also in the high salinity environment. By using living foraminifera during winter, the previously established Mg/Ca-temperature calibration is extended to temperatures below 18 °C, which is a fundamental prerequisite of using single foraminifera for reconstructing past seasonality.

The basinwide surface transport of tracers such as heat, nutrients and plastic in the North Atlantic Ocean is organized into large scale flow structures such as the Western Boundary Current and the Subtropical and Subpolar Gyres. Being able to identify these features from drifter data is important for studying tracer dispersal, but also to detect changes in the large scale surface flow due to climate change. We propose a new and conceptually simple method to detect groups of trajectories with similar dynamical behaviour from drifter data using network theory and normalized cut spectral clustering. Our network is constructed from conditional bin-drifter probability distributions and naturally handles drifter trajectories with data gaps and different lifetimes. The eigenvalue problem of the respective Laplacian can be replaced by a singular value decomposition of a related sparse data matrix. The construction of this matrix scales with O(NM + Nτ), where N is the number of particles, M the number of bins and τ the number of time steps. The concept behind our network construction is rooted in a particle's symbolic itinerary derived from its trajectory and a state space partition, which we incorporate in its most basic form by replacing a particle's itinerary by a probability distribution over symbols. We represent these distributions as the links of a bipartite graph, connecting particles and symbols. We apply our method to the periodically driven double-gyre flow and successfully identify well-known features. Exploiting the duality between particles and symbols defined by the bipartite graph, we demonstrate how a direct low-dimensional coarse definition of the clustering problem can still lead to relatively accurate results for the most dominant structures, and resolve features down to scales much below the coarse graining scale. Our method also performs well in detecting structures with incomplete trajectory data, which we demonstrate for the double-gyre flow by randomly removing data points. We finally apply our method to a set of ocean drifter trajectories and present the first network-based clustering of the North Atlantic surface transport based on surface drifters, successfully detecting well-known regions such as the Subpolar and Subtropical Gyres, the Western Boundary Current region and the Carribean Sea.

A large percentage of global ocean plastic waste enters the northern hemisphere Indian Ocean (NIO). Despite this, it is unclear what happens to buoyant plastics in the NIO. Because the subtropics in the NIO is blocked by landmass, there is no subtropical gyre and no associated subtropical garbage patch in this region. We therefore hypothesise that plastics "beach" and end up on coastlines along the Indian Ocean rim. In this paper, we determine the influence of beaching plastics by applying different beaching conditions to Lagrangian particle tracking simulation results. Our results show that a large amount of plastic likely ends up on coastlines in the NIO, while some crosses the equator into the southern hemisphere Indian Ocean (SIO). In the NIO, the transport of plastics is dominated by seasonally reversing monsoonal currents, which transport plastics back and forth between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. All buoyant plastic material in this region beaches within a few years in our simulations. Countries bordering the Bay of Bengal are particularly heavily affected by plastics beaching on coastlines. This is a result of both the large sources of plastic waste in the region, as well as ocean dynamics which concentrate plastics in the Bay of Bengal. During the intermonsoon period following the southwest monsoon season (September, October, November), plastics can cross the equator on the eastern side of the NIO basin into the SIO. Plastics that escape from the NIO into the SIO beach on eastern African coastlines and islands in the SIO or enter the subtropical SIO garbage patch.

Estimates of plastic inputs into the ocean are orders of magnitude larger than what is found in the surface waters. This can be due to discrepancies in the sources of plastic released into the ocean, but can also be explained due to the fact that it is not well known what the most dominant sinks of marine plastics are, and on what time scales these operate. To get a better understanding on possible sources and sinks, an inverse modelling methodology is presented here for a Lagrangian ocean model, estimating floating plastic quantities in the Mediterranean Sea. Field measurements of plastic concentrations in the Mediterranean are used to inform parametrizations defining various sources of marine plastics, and removal of plastic particles due to beaching and sinking. The parameters of the model are found using inverse modelling, by comparison of model results and measurements of floating plastic concentrations. Time scales for the sinks are found, and likely sources of plastics can be ranked in importance. A new mass balance is made for floating plastics in the Mediterranean: for 2015 there is an estimated input of 2,100-3,400 tonnes, and of plastics released since 2006, about 170-420 tonnes remain afloat in the surface waters, 49-63% ended up on coastlines, and 37-51% have sunk down.

Aim: Population connectivity of benthic marine organisms depends strongly on planktonic larval dispersal and is controlled by geographic distance and oceanographic structure. We examine isolation by distance versus resistance to barriers (ocean current boundaries) against a background of post‐glacial habitat expansion in a small benthic fish of the Adriatic Sea.

Location: Adriatic Sea, Eastern Mediterranean.

Taxon: Tripterygion tripteronotum.

Methods: We performed population genetic analyses using mitochondrial control region sequences of 550 individuals from 25 locations sampled along the Eastern Adriatic coast. Investigations of population structure included differentiation tests, cluster analyses and distance‐based redundancy analysis. We then ran Lagrangian simulations of passive larval drift to examine correlations among population structure, geographic distance and the Adriatic gyre system. To test for signatures of a post‐glacial range expansion, we modelled the demographic history of the populations and examined the geographic distribution of genetic diversity.

Results: Genetic population structure corresponded to the Adriatic gyres without additional effect of geographic distance. Inference of northward‐biased gene flow between the northern and the Istrian gyre was consistent with simulated trajectories of passive drift, whereas the phylogeographic break coinciding with the boundary between the Central and the Northern Adriatic gyre was stronger than predicted by drift simulations. Genetic connectivity of populations within gyres was high. Genetic signatures of population expansion were consistent with a rapid post‐glacial recolonization of the northern Adriatic.

Main conclusions: The combination of dense sampling and passive drift simulation allowed us to distinguish among effects of geographic distance, oceanographic features and palaeoenvironmental changes on current population structure. Comparisons between realized and potential connectivity illustrate the value of integrating different data sources to understand population structure and inform conservation planning.

Submesoscale coherent vortices (SCVs) are numerous in high‐resolution numerical simulations, but their observations are scarce. Among the few in situ available measurements of SCVs, a vast majority concern anticyclones. No cyclonic SCV with large dynamical Rossby number (|ζ /f | > 1) has ever been sampled. This suggested that such small cyclones may lack robustness. Here, we present in situ measurements of an intense cyclonic SCV in the Arabian Sea. This eddy lay at 600 m depth, with a Rossby number and a dynamical Rossby number |ζ /f | > 1.5. This cyclone was most likely generated at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. It trapped and advected Red Sea Water, from there on. This highlights the role of deep SCVs in the spreading of salty waters across the Arabian Sea.

Here we present an assessment of eddy activity in a 3,500 × 2,000 km region of the North Pacific. Eddies were identified and tracked within a numerical simulation that used the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model and an eddy characterization algorithm. Spatially, eddy births were more frequent: (1) nearshore (cyclones) and offshore (anticyclones) on the windward side of the main Hawai‘ian Islands; (2) in patches of cyclones and anticyclones that resembled the dipole structure of wind stress curl along the islands’ leeward side; and (3) in zonal patches of eddies of both polarities west and north of the islands. Temporally, high eddy activities occurred in spring. There was a meridional distribution of eddy lifespans, which increased northward. Cyclones were more abundant, longer‐lived, smaller, and more nonlinear. Reef fish spawning locations in Hawai‘i coincide with the regions of high eddy activity, with nonlinear eddies responsible for high larval retention.

The knowledge gap on the early life-history of sea turtles during the “lost years” continues to hinder research and conservation of this critical life stage when mortality rates are the highest. An oceanic model was used in combination with a Lagrangian particle tracking framework to simulate and identify potential post-hatchling dispersal trajectories of loggerhead and leatherback turtles in the South Western Indian Ocean. The study aimed to investigate the effect of hatchling swimming behaviour on hatchling dispersal and survival probability. To our knowledge, this study provides the first estimate of neonate sea turtle dispersal in the SWIO, by combining a particle tracking model with in situ hatchling behavioural data. The model revealed that most virtual hatchlings are transported south-westward in the Agulhas Current with three distinct final locations after a year-long si- mulation (each zone comprising on average > 20% of the total amount of particles): the Agulhas Return, the SE Atlantic and the Southern Ocean zones. However, because loggerhead hatchlings are less strong swimmers compared to leatherbacks, they can be advected northward in the near-shore coastal current. Simulations re- vealed that initial active swimming (frenzy) as well as variability in oceanic conditions strongly influenced dispersal of virtual hatchlings. Furthermore, variability in oceanic conditions dispersed virtual hatchlings into different areas where threats, like fisheries bycatch, might also influence their survival. Lastly, the results of this study have potentially broad implications for climate change if turtles adapt by nesting earlier/later during the nesting season or further south which may influence hatchling locomotor performance and ultimately survival at early life stages.

Predicting the trajectories of buoyant objects drifting at the ocean surface is important for a variety of different applications. To minimize errors in predicted trajectories, the dominant transport mechanisms have to be considered. In addition to the background surface currents (i.e., geostrophic, tidal, baroclinic currents), the wind-driven drift current can have a significant influence on the dynamics of buoyant objects. The drift current consists of two components: Stokes drift and a wind-induced shear current. The drift current has a strong vertical profile that can have a large influence on the transport of buoyant objects. However, few practical methods exist that consider the vertical profile of the drift current when predicting particle pathways on the ocean surface. The aim of this paper is to introduce a depth-dependent drift current correction factor (“drift factor”). We test the usefulness of this drift factor by simulating the transport of two types of ocean surface drifters, released simultaneously within the coverage of a high-frequency ocean radar (HFR) system. Our results show velocity differences between the two types of drifters and the HFR measured ocean surface currents. We suggest that these differences are the result of the drift current vertical profile. Our particle tracking simulations provide an illustrative example, indicating the importance of accounting for a drift factor that takes the variation of the drift current with depth into account.

A new estimate of Agulhas leakage transport is calculated using profiling floats and drifters. Since Richardson's seminal estimate of 15 Sv in 2007, the number of floats and drifters passing through the Agulhas Current has quadrupled. Within uncertainties we find the same leakage percentages as Richardson, with 34% of drifters leaking at the surface and 21% of floats leaking at 1,000 m depth. We find that the drifters tend to follow a northward leakage pathway via the Benguela Current compared to the northwestward leakage pathway of the floats along the Agulhas Ring corridor. We simulate the isobaric and profiling behavior of the floats and drifters using two high resolution models and two offline Lagrangian tracking tools, quantifying for the first time the sampling biases associated with the observations. We find that the isobaric bias cannot be robustly simulated but likely causes an underestimate of observed leakage by one or two Sverdrups. The profiling behavior of the floats causes no significant bias in the leakage. Fitting a simulated vertical leakage profile to the observed leakage percentages from the floats and drifters and using the mean Agulhas transport observed by a moored array at 34°S we find an improved Agulhas leakage transport of 21.3 Sv, with an estimated error of 4.7 Sv. Our new leakage transport is higher primarily because we account for leakage at depths down to 2,000 m, while Richardson considered only the top 1,000 m of the water column.

Transport of larvae by ocean currents is an important dispersal mechanism for many species. The timing and location of spawning can have a large influence on settlement location. Shifts in the known spawning habitat of fish, whether due to climate or the discovery of new spawning stock, can influence the distribution of juveniles and our understanding of connectivity. The globally‐distributed species; Pomatomus saltatrix, is one such example where a previously unrecognised summer spawning event and a more southern latitudinal extent was recently reported for the southwest Pacific population. Although restrictions are in place to protect the traditional spawning event, the importance of the newly recognised summer spawning event is uncertain. Here we investigate larval dispersal of P. saltatrix using particle tracking simulations to identify the contributions of the different spawning events to settlement. By modelling dispersal of larvae released in northern and mid‐latitude regions over the Austral spring and summer we show that the newly recognised mid‐latitude summer spawning event contributes over 50% of the larvae reaching southern latitudes. This is due to a reduced (1‐2 d) pelagic larval duration (associated with temperature), resulting in reduced larval mortality, and the seasonal (summer) strengthening of the East Australian Current (EAC) transporting particles ~50km further south. These findings demonstrate that in dynamic boundary current systems such as the EAC, the final settlement location of larvae that are transported by ocean currents can vary considerably depending on the timing and location of spawning and that multiple spawning events are important for maximum dispersal.

Robust predictions of future changes in global biogeochemical cycling require an understanding of how microorganisms adapt to stressful and changing environments. In the ocean, rates of adaptation will be a function of both evolutionary timescales and physical dynamics. However, little is known about this interaction. We examined evolutionary dynamics of marine microbes by combining a model of microbial adaptation with varying selection pressures with a high-resolution ocean circulation model. A trade-off emerged between two evolutionary strategies: (i) ability to adapt plastically to short-term environmental fluctuations with delayed genetic adaptation and (ii) more rapid genetic adaptation with limited response to short-term environmental fluctuations. This trade-off determines evolutionary timescales and provides a foundation for understanding distributions of microbial traits and biogeochemistry.

On 7 August 2019, a 195 km2 raft of andesitic pumice was produced at 200 m below sea level at an unnamed submarine volcano in the Tonga Islands (Southwest Pacific Ocean). Drifting chiefly westwards, the raft reached the Fiji Islands on the 19 September. Yachts that crossed the raft as early as two days post‐eruption provided an outstanding dataset of raft characteristics and pristine samples. Further, exceptional tracking of raft dispersal by satellite images allow us to contrast virtual particle tracking methods with ocean model currents to explore the relative influence of surface currents, wind, and wave action on pumice flotsam dispersal over up to two years. Attenuation of ocean waves by large and compact pumice rafts appears to reduce the effect of Stokes drift. The coupling of real‐time satellite observations with oceanographic Lagrangian simulations allows near‐real time forecasting for global maritime hazard mitigation.

The north Atlantic subpolar gyre (SPG) has been widely implicated as the source of large-scale changes in the subpolar marine environment. However, inconsistencies between indices of SPG-strength have raised questions about the active role SPG-strength and size play in determining water properties in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic (ENA). Here, by analyzing various SPG indices derived from observations and a global coupled model, we show that the choice of the SPG index dictates the interpretation of SPG strength-salinity relationship in the ENA. Variability in geostrophic currents derived from observed hydrography and model based Lagrangian trajectories reveal zonal shifts of advective pathways in the ENA and meridional shifts in the western intergyre region. Such shifts in advective pathways are manifestations of variability in the size and strength of the SPG, and they impact salinity by modulating the proportion of subpolar and subtropical waters reaching the ENA. SPG indices based on subsurface density and principal component analysis of sea surface height variability capture these shifts in advective pathways, and are therefore best suited to describe SPG-salinity relationship in the ENA. Our results establish the dynamical constraints on the choice of the SPG index and emphasize that SPG indices should be cautiously interpreted.

To better predict how populations and communities respond to climatic temperature variation, it is necessary to understand how the shape of the response of fitness-related traits to temperature evolves (the thermal performance curve). Currently, there is disagreement about the extent to which the evolution of thermal performance curves is constrained. One school of thought has argued for the prevalence of thermodynamic constraints through enzyme kinetics, whereas another argues that adaptation can—at least partly—overcome such constraints. To shed further light on this debate, we perform a phylogenetic meta-analysis of the thermal performance curve of growth rate of phytoplankton—a globally important functional group—, controlling for potential environmental effects. We find that thermodynamic constraints have a minor influence on the shape of the curve. In particular, we detect a very weak increase of the maximum curve height with the temperature at which the curve peaks, suggesting a weak “hotter-is-better” constraint. Also, instead of a constant thermal sensitivity of growth across species, as might be expected from strong constraints, we detect phylogenetic signal in this as well as all curve parameters. Our results suggest that phytoplankton thermal performance curves adapt to thermal environments largely in the absence of hard thermodynamic constraints.

Floating plastic debris is an increasing source of pollution in the world's oceans. Numerical simulations using models of ocean currents give insight into the transport and distribution of microplastics in the oceans, but most simulations do not account for the oscillating flow caused by global barotropic tides. Here, we investigate the influence of barotropic tidal currents on the transport and accumulation of floating microplastics, by numerically simulating the advection of virtual plastic particles released all over the world's oceans and tracking these for 13 years. We use geostrophic and surface Ekman currents from GlobCurrent and the currents caused by the four main tidal constituents (M2, S2, K1, and O1) from the FES model. We analyze the differences between the simulations with and without the barotropic tidal currents included, focusing on the open ocean. In each of the simulations, we see that microplastic accumulates in regions in the subtropical gyres, which is in agreement with observations. The formation and location of these accumulation regions remain unaffected by the barotropic tidal currents. However, there are a number of coastal regions where we see differences when the barotropic tidal currents are included. Due to uncertainties of the model in coastal regions, further investigation is required in order to draw conclusions in these areas. Our results suggest that, in the global open ocean, barotropic tidal currents have little impact on the transport and accumulation of floating microplastic and can thus be neglected in simulations aimed at studying microplastic transport in the open ocean.

We illustrate relationships between classical kernel-based dimensionality reduction techniques and eigendecompositions of empirical estimates of reproducing kernel Hilbert space operators associated with dynamical systems. In particular, we show that kernel canonical correlation analysis (CCA) can be interpreted in terms of kernel transfer operators and that it can be obtained by optimizing the variational approach for Markov processes score. As a result, we show that coherent sets of particle trajectories can be computed by kernel CCA. We demonstrate the efficiency of this approach with several examples, namely, the well-known Bickley jet, ocean drifter data, and a molecular dynamics problem with a time-dependent potential. Finally, we propose a straightforward generalization of dynamic mode decomposition called coherent mode decomposition. Our results provide a generic machine learning approach to the computation of coherent sets with an objective score that can be used for cross-validation and the comparison of different methods. While coherent sets of particles are common in dynamical systems, they are notoriously challenging to identify. In this article, we leverage the combination of a suite of methods designed to approximate the eigenfunctions of transfer operators with kernel embeddings in order to design an algorithm for detecting coherent structures in Langrangian data. It turns out that the resulting method is a well-known technique to analyze relationships between multidimensional variables, namely, kernel canonical correlation analysis (CCA). Our algorithm successfully identifies coherent structures in several diverse examples, including oceanic currents and a molecular dynamics problem with a moving potential. Furthermore, we show that a natural extension of our algorithm leads to a coherent mode decomposition (CMD), a counterpart to dynamic mode decomposition (DMD).

The tracking of virtual particles is one of the main numerical tools to understand the global dispersion of marine plastic debris and has been successful in explaining the global-scale accumulation patterns of surface microplastic, often called `garbage patches'. Yet, the inherent inaccuracies in plastic input scenarios and ocean circulation model results produce uncertainties in particle trajectories, which amplify due to the chaotic property of the surface ocean flow. Within this chaotic system, the subtropical `garbage patches' correspond to the attractor. These facts make the large scale surface ocean circulation a mixing dynamical system, which means that the information of a particle's initial location is lost over time. We use mixing entropy and Markov chain mixing of the transfer operator associated with surface ocean transport to quantify the time scales of mixing for the global surface ocean in each subtropical basin. In the largest parts of all basins we find mixing times in the order of or below 10 years, which is lower than typical simulation times for surface plastic transport simulations. Maximum mixing times of more than 10 years are found in some parts of the North and South Pacific. Our results have important implications for global dispersion modelling of floating materials on the basin scale: precise initial information has little relevance for long term simulations, and there is a temporal limit after which the backtracking of particles is not meaningful any more.

The Galápagos Archipelago and Galápagos Marine Reserve lie 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador and are among the world's most iconic wildlife refuges. However, plastic litter is now found even in this remote island archipelago. Prior to this study, the sources of this plastic litter on Galápagos coastlines were unidentified. Local sources are widely expected to be small, given the limited population and environmentally conscious tourism industry. Here, we show that remote sources of plastic pollution are also fairly localised and limited to nearby fishing regions and South American and Central American coastlines, in particular northern Peru and southern Ecuador. Using virtual floating plastic particles transported in high-resolution ocean surface currents, we analysed the plastic origin and fate using pathways and connectivity between the Galápagos region and the coastlines as well as known fishery locations around the east Pacific Ocean. We also analysed how incorporation of wave-driven currents (Stokes drift) affects these pathways and connectivity. We found that only virtual particles that enter the ocean from Peru, Ecuador, and (when waves are not taken into account) Colombia can reach the Galápagos region. It takes these particles a few months to travel from their coastal sources on the American continent to the Galápagos region. The connectivity does not seem to vary substantially between El Niño and La Niña years. Identifying these sources and the timing and patterns of the transport can be useful for identifying integrated management opportunities to reduce plastic pollution from reaching the Galápagos Archipelago.

Buoyant microplastic in the ocean can be submerged to deeper layers through biofouling and the consequent loss of buoyancy or by wind induced turbulent mixing at the ocean surface. Yet the fact that particles in deeper layers are transported by currents that are different from those at the surface has not been explored so far. We compute 10‐year trajectories of 1 million virtual particles with the Parcels framework for different particle advection scenarios to investigate the effect of near‐surface currents on global particle dispersal. We simulate the global‐scale transport of passive microplastic for (i) particles constrained to different depths from the surface to 120 m depth, (ii) particles that are randomly displaced in the vertical with uniform distribution, (iii) particles subject to surface mixing and (iv) for a 3D passive advection model. Our results show that the so called 'garbage patches' become more 'leaky' in deeper layers, and completely disappear at about 60 m depth. At the same time, subsurface currents can transport significant amounts of microplastic from subtropical and subpolar regions to polar regions, providing a possible mechanism to explain why plastic is found in these remote areas. Finally, we show that the final distribution in the surface turbulent mixing scenario with particle rise speed wr=0.003 m/s is very similar to the distribution of plastic at the surface. This demonstrates that it is not necessary to incorporate surface mixing for global long‐term simulations, although this might change on more local scales and for particles with lower rise speeds.

In an effort to increase purse seine fishing efficiency for tropical tunas, over 30,000 drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (dFADs) are deployed every year by fishers in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). The use of dFADs also impacts ecosystems, in particular through marine pollution and dFAD beaching. This paper presents the first estimate of dFAD beaching events in the WCPO (>1300 in 2016–2017) and their distribution. Lagrangian simulations of virtual dFADs, released subject to contrasting deployment distributions, help us determine the relative importance of operational versus environmental drivers of dFADs drifting to beaching areas. The highest levels of beaching, occurring on Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, are likely a result of the prevailing westward oceanic circulation and subsequent local processes driving dFADs towards land. Similarly, high beaching rates in Tuvalu appear to be due to the general circulation of the WCPO. In contrast, beaching in Kiribati Gilbert Islands appear to be more strongly related to dFAD deployment strategy. These findings indicate that reducing beaching events via changes in deployment locations may be difficult. As such, management approaches combining dFAD deployment limits, the use of biodegradable dFADs, recoveries at-sea close to sensitive areas and/or beached dFAD removal should be considered.

With the increasing amount of data produced by numerical ocean models, so increases the need for efficient tools to analyse these data. One of these tools is Lagrangian ocean analysis, where a set of virtual particles are released and their dynamics is integrated in time based on fields defining the ocean state, including the hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry if available. This popular methodology needs to adapt to the large variety of models producing these fields at different formats. This is precisely the aim of Parcels, a Lagrangian ocean analysis framework designed to combine (1) a wide flexibility to model particles of different natures and (2) an efficient implementation in accordance with modern computing infrastructure. In the new Parcels v2.0, we implement a set of interpolation schemes to read various types of discretised fields, from rectilinear to curvilinear grids in the horizontal direction, from z- to s- levels in the vertical and different variable distributions such as the Arakawa's A-, B- and C- grids. In particular, we develop a new interpolation scheme for a three-dimensional curvilinear C-grid and analyse its properties. Parcels v2.0 capabilities, including a suite of meta-field objects, are then illustrated in a brief study of the distribution of floating microplastic in the North West European continental shelf and its sensitivity to different physical processes.

Microfossils from plankton are used for paleoceanographic reconstructions. An often‐made assumption in quantitative microplankton‐based paleoceanographic reconstructions is that sedimentary assemblages represent conditions of the directly overlying surface water. However, any immobile particle sinking down the water column is subjected to transport by three‐dimensional currents, which results in a lateral relocation along transport. We model dinoflagellate cyst (dinocyst) transport in a high‐resolution (0.1° horizontally) global model of the present‐day ocean, and compare ocean conditions in the simulated origin of sedimentary particles to that in the directly overlying water. We find that the assumption that sedimentary particles represent the overlying surface waters is in most regions not valid. The bias induced by dinocyst transport depends on ocean current strength and direction, aggregation of particles which could increase the sinking speed, and the sediment sample depth. By using realistic sinking speeds of dinocysts and aggregates, extreme biases up to approximately ± 16°C warmer or ±4PSU saltier are found, while other regions show lower bias from particle transport. Our model results provide a way to mechanistically and statistically explain the unexpected occurrences of some dinocyst species outside of their `normal' occurrence region, such as the northerly occurrence of the allegedly sea‐ice‐affiliated dinocyst Selenopemphix antarctica. Exclusion of such outlier occurrences will yield better constrained ecological affinites for dinocyst species, which has implications for microfossil‐based quantitative and qualitative proxies for paleoceanographic conditions. We recommend paleoceanographers to a priori evaluate the (paleo‐)water depth, oceanographic setting, current strength and particle aggregation probability for their sedimentary microplankton assemblages.

Drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (dFADs) are small drifting platforms with an attached solar powered buoy that report their position with daily frequency via GPS. We use data of 9,440 drifting objects provided by a buoys manufacturing company, to test the predictions of surface current velocity provided by two of the main models: the NEMO model used by Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and the HYCOM model used by the Global Ocean Forecast System (GOFS).

The increased use of drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (dFADs) by tuna purse seine fleets in recent years has supported considerable catches of these species. A greater understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of these objects as they drift with ocean currents is critical for understanding historical changes in fishing power, spatial management, and examining the effect of ambient dFAD density on catch and effort. Here, dFAD dynamics were estimated for all floating object sets made by purse seiners in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean during 2016 and 2017. The drift trajectories of these floating objects prior to the observed fishing events were estimated by seeding virtual Lagrangian particles within a state-of-the-art hydrodynamics model, and simulating their movements backwards in time. Resulting trajectory distributions are similar to observed dFAD trajectories from the same period. The approach provides spatial density estimates in areas where observed dFAD data are incomplete, particularly in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Howland and Baker Islands, and certain high seas zones. We provide estimates of inter-EEZ connectivity of dFADs, which highlight the fact that dFADs set upon in small EEZs such as Nauru and Howland and Baker Islands are likely to have drifted from neighbouring EEZs less than one month prior to fishing. dFADs typically transited multiple EEZs, with a median of 4 and a maximum of 14, when assuming a drift-time of six months. Moreover, 22% of dFAD sets made in the WCPO were estimated to have originated from the Eastern Pacific Ocean.&#13; We examine our results in the context of the improved management and assessment of dFAD fisheries, providing a methodology to estimated relative dFAD density over historical periods to support analyses of catch and effort. The sensitivity of these estimates to hydrodynamic models, including the proposed SKIM doppler radar altimetry method, is discussed.

Buoyant marine plastic debris has become a serious problem affecting the marine environment. To fully understand the impact of this problem, it is important to understand the dynamics of buoyant debris in the ocean. Buoyant debris accumulates in “garbage patches” in each of the subtropical ocean basins because of Ekman convergence and associated downwelling at subtropical latitudes. However, the precise dynamics of the garbage patches are not well understood. This is especially true in the southern Indian Ocean (SIO), where observations are inconclusive about the existence and numerical models predict inconsistent locations of the SIO garbage patch. In addition, the oceanic and atmospheric dynamics in the SIO are very different to those in the other oceans. The aim of this paper is to determine the dynamics of the SIO garbage patch at different depths and under different transport mechanisms such as ocean surface currents, Stokes drift and direct wind forcing. To achieve this, we use two types of ocean surface drifters as a proxy for buoyant debris. We derive transport matrices from observed drifter locations and simulate the global accumulation of buoyant debris. Our results indicate that the accumulation of buoyant debris in the SIO is much more sensitive to different transport mechanisms than in the other ocean basins. We relate this sensitivity to the unique oceanic and atmospheric dynamics of the SIO.

Although marine plastic pollution has been the focus of several studies, there are still many gaps in our understanding of the concentrations, characteristics and impacts of plastics in the oceans. This study aimed to quantify and characterize plastic debris in oceanic surface waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. Sampling was done through surface trawls, and mean debris concentration was estimated at 1,794 items.km−2 with an average weight of 27.8 g.km−2. No statistical difference was found between the amount of mesoplastics (46%) and microplastics (54%). We found hard and flexible fragments, spheres and lines, in nine colors, composed mostly of polyurethane, polyamide, and polyethylene. An oceanographic dispersal model showed that, for at least seven years, sampled plastics likely did not originate from latitudes lower than 58°S. Analysis of epiplastic community diversity revealed bacteria, microalgae, and invertebrate groups adhered to debris. Paint fragments were present at all sampling stations and were approximately 30 times more abundant than plastics. Although paint particles were not included in plastic concentration estimates, we highlight that they could have similar impacts as marine plastics. We call for urgent action to avoid and mitigate plastic and paint fragment inputs to the Southern Ocean.

Floating microplastic in the oceans is known to accumulate in the subtropical ocean gyres, but unclear is still what causes that accumulation. We investigate the role of various physical processes, such as surface Ekman and geostrophic currents, surface Stokes drift and mesoscale eddy activity, on the global surface distribution of floating microplastic with Lagrangian particle tracking using GlobCurrent and WaveWatch III reanalysis products. Globally, the locations of microplastic accumulation (accumulation zones) are largely determined by the Ekman currents. Simulations of the North Pacific and North Atlantic show that the locations of the modeled accumulation zones using GlobCurrent Total (Ekman+Geostrophic) currents generally agree with observed microplastic distributions in the North Pacific, and with the zonal distribution in the North Atlantic. Geostrophic currents and Stokes drift do not contribute to large scale microplastic accumulation in the subtropics, but Stokes drift leads to increased microplastic transport to Arctic regions. Since the WaveWatch III Stokes drift and GlobCurrent Ekman current datasets are not independent, combining Stokes drift with the other current components leads to an overestimation of Stokes drift effects and there is therefore a need for independent measurements of the different ocean circulation components. We investigate whether windage would be appropriate as a proxy for Stokes drift but find discrepancies in the modelled direction and magnitude. In the North Pacific, we find that microplastic tends to accumulate in regions of relatively low eddy kinetic energy, indicating low mesoscale eddy activity, but we do not see similar trends in the North Atlantic.

Experimentation at sea provides insight into which traits of ocean microbes are linked to performance in situ. Here we show distinct patterns in thermal tolerance of microbial phototrophs from adjacent water masses sampled in the south-west Pacific Ocean, determined using a fluorescent marker for reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS content of pico-eukaryotes was assessed after 1, 5 and 25 h of incubation along a temperature gradient (15.6–32.1 °C). Pico-eukaryotes from the East Australian Current (EAC) had relatively constant ROS and showed greatest mortality after 25 h at 7 °C below ambient, whereas those from the Tasman Sea had elevated ROS in both warm and cool temperature extremes and greatest mortality at temperatures 6–10 °C above ambient, interpreted as the outcome of thermal stress. Tracking of water masses within an oceanographic circulation model showed populations had distinct thermal histories, with EAC pico-eukaryotes experiencing higher average temperatures for at least 1 week prior to sampling. While acclimatization and community assembly could both influence biological responses, this study clearly demonstrates that phenotypic divergence occurs along planktonic drift trajectories.

We sampled 17 nesting sites for loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Cyprus. Microplastics (<5 mm) were found at all locations and depths, with particularly high abundance in superficial sand. The top 2 cm of sand presented grand mean ± SD particle counts of 45,497 ± 11,456 particles m−3 (range 637–131,939 particles m−3). The most polluted beaches were among the worst thus far recorded, presenting levels approaching those previously recorded in Guangdong, South China. Microplastics decreased with increasing sand depth but were present down to turtle nest depths of 60 cm (mean 5,325 ± 3,663 particles m−3. Composition varied among beaches but hard fragments (46.5 ± 3.5%) and pre-production nurdles (47.8 ± 4.5%) comprised most categorised pieces. Particle drifter analysis hindcast for 365 days indicated that most plastic likely originated from the eastern Mediterranean basin. Worsening microplastic abundance could result in anthropogenically altered life history parameters such as hatching success and sex ratios in marine turtles.

This study examines the fine‐scale population genetic structure and phylogeography of the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus in the Western Indian Ocean. A seascape genetics approach was used to relate the observed genetic structure based on 21 microsatellite loci to ocean circulation patterns, and to determine the influence of latitude, sea surface temperature (SST), and ocean turbidity (KD490) on population‐level processes. At a geospatial level, the genetic clusters recovered corresponded to three putative subspecies, P. h. rubellus from the SW Indian Ocean, P. h. megasculptus from the NW Indian Ocean, and P. h. homarus from the tropical region in‐between. Virtual passive Lagrangian particles advected using satellite‐derived ocean surface currents were used to simulate larval dispersal. In the SW Indian Ocean, the dispersion of particles tracked over a 4‐month period provided insight into a steep genetic gradient observed at the Delagoa Bight, which separates P. h. rubellus and P. h. homarus. South of the contact zone, particles were advected southwestwards by prevailing boundary currents or were retained in nearshore eddies close to release locations. Some particles released in southeast Madagascar dispersed across the Mozambique Channel and reached the African shelf. Dispersal was characterized by high seasonal and inter‐annual variability, and a large proportion of particles were dispersed far offshore and presumably lost. In the NW Indian Ocean, particles were retained within the Arabian Sea. Larval retention and self‐recruitment in the Arabian Sea could explain the recent genetic divergence between P. h. megasculptus and P. h. homarus. Geographic distance and minimum SST were significantly associated with genetic differentiation in multivariate analysis, suggesting that larval tolerance to SST plays a role in shaping the population structure of P. homarus.

The distribution of marine species is often modeled using Eulerian approaches, in which changes to population density or abundance are calculated at fixed locations in space. Conversely, Lagrangian, or individual-based, models simulate the movement of individual particles moving in continuous space, with broader-scale patterns such as distribution being an emergent property of many, potentially adaptive, individuals. These models offer advantages in examining dynamics across spatiotemporal scales and making comparisons with observations from individual-scale data.
Here, we introduce and describe such a model, the Individual-based Kinesis, Advection and Movement of Ocean ANimAls model (Ikamoana), which we use to replicate the movement processes of an existing Eulerian model for marine predators (the Spatial Ecosystem and Population Dynamics Model, SEAPODYM). Ikamoana simulates the movement of either individual or groups of animals by physical ocean currents, habitat- dependent stochastic movements (kinesis), and taxis movements representing active searching behaviours.
Applying our model to Pacific skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), we show that it accurately replicates the evolution of density distribution simulated by SEAPODYM with low time-mean error and a spatial correlation of density that exceeds 0.96 at all times. We demonstrate how the Lagrangian approach permits easy tracking of individuals’ trajectories for examining connectivity between different regions, and show how the model can provide independent estimates of transfer rates between commonly used assessment regions. In particular, we find that retention rates in most assessment regions are considerably smaller (up to a factor of 2) than those estimated by this populations primary assessment model. Moreover, these rates are sensitive to ocean state (e.g. El Nino vs La Nina) and so assuming fixed transfer rates between regions may lead to spurious stock estimates. A novel feature of the Lagrangian approach is that individual schools can be tracked through time, and we demonstrate that movement between two assessment regions at broad temporal scales includes extended transits through other regions.
Finally, we discuss the utility of this modeling framework for the management of marine reserves, designing effective monitoring programmes, and exploring hypotheses regarding the behaviour of hard-to-observe oceanic animals.

In this study, we assess the accuracy of a combined geostrophic and Ekman current product (GlobCurrent) that estimates ocean currents at 15 m depth, by coupling it to a synthetic particle tracking tool and comparing the virtual trajectories to those of surface drifting buoys drogued at 15 m in the Greater Agulhas Current Region. The velocities from a total of 1,041 drifters are compared and evaluated to the synthetic particle-derived velocities for the period 1993–2015. On average the GlobCurrent underestimates the velocity in the Greater Agulhas Current by approximately 27%. The underestimation ranges from 4–64% in different regions, with the smallest error found in the Agulhas retroflection region, and the highest in the Benguela Upwelling System. Furthermore, we compare the time taken for the separation between the virtual and real drifters to reach 35 km. The mean separation time was found to be 78 hours, with the shortest time (35 hours) found in the Agulhas Current and the longest time (116 hours) located in the Agulhas Return Current. Deploying 10,000 virtual drifters in a 1degree x 1degree box within the southern Agulhas Current shows a convergence of trajectories towards the core of the current, while higher divergence is evident in the Agulhas retroflection. To evaluate the utility of this synthetic particle tracking tool coupled with GlobCurrent in open ocean search and rescue operations, two test cases are examined: (1) a capsized catamaran spotted south of Cape Recife and recovered 5 days later south of Cape Agulhas; and (2) a drifter trajectory in the same region. The comparison suggests that the GlobCurrent forced synthetic particle tracking tool is not appropriate for predicting the trajectory of a capsized catamaran that does not have the same drift characteristics as a surface drifting buoy drogued to 15 m.

Global surface transport in the ocean can be represented by using the observed trajectories of drifters to calculate probability distribution functions. The oceanographic applications of the Markov Chain approach to modelling include tracking of floating debris and water masses, globally and on yearly-to-centennial timescales. Here, we analyse the error inherent with mapping trajectories onto a grid and the consequences for ocean transport modelling and detection of accumulation structures. A sensitivity analysis of Markov Chain parameters is performed in an idealised Stommel gyre and western boundary current as well as with observed ocean drifters, complementing previous studies on widespread floating debris accumulation. Focusing on two key areas of inter-ocean exchange - the Agulhas System and the North Atlantic intergyre transport barrier - we assess the capacity of the Markov Chain methodology to detect surface connectivity and dynamic transport barriers. Finally, we extend the methodology's functionality to separate the geostrophic and non-geostrophic contributions to inter-ocean exchange in these key regions.

Lagrangian analysis is a powerful way to analyse the output of ocean circulation models and other ocean velocity data such as from altimetry. In the Lagrangian approach, large sets of virtual particles are integrated within the three-dimensional, time-evolving velocity fields. Over several decades, a variety of tools and methods for this purpose have emerged. Here, we review the state of the art in the field of Lagrangian analysis of ocean velocity data, starting from a fundamental kinematic framework and with a focus on large-scale open ocean applications. Beyond the use of explicit velocity fields, we consider the influence of unresolved physics and dynamics on particle trajectories. We comprehensively list and discuss the tools currently available for tracking virtual particles. We then showcase some of the innovative applications of trajectory data, and conclude with some open questions and an outlook. The overall goal of this review paper is to reconcile some of the different techniques and methods in Lagrangian ocean analysis, while recognising the rich diversity of codes that have and continue to emerge, and the challenges of the coming age of petascale computing.

As ocean general circulation models (OGCMs) move into the petascale age, where the output of single simulations exceeds petabytes of storage space, tools to analyse the output of these models will need to scale up too. Lagrangian ocean analysis, where virtual particles are tracked through hydrodynamic fields, is an increasingly popular way to analyse OGCM output, by mapping pathways and connectivity of biotic and abiotic particulates. However, the current software stack of Lagrangian ocean analysis codes is not dynamic enough to cope with the increasing complexity, scale and need for customization of use-cases. Furthermore, most community codes are developed for stand-alone use, making it a nontrivial task to integrate virtual particles at runtime of the OGCM. Here, we introduce the new Parcels code, which was designed from the ground up to be sufficiently scalable to cope with petascale computing. We highlight its API design that combines flexibility and customization with the ability to optimize for HPC workflows, following the paradigm of domain-specific languages. Parcels is primarily written in Python, utilizing the wide range of tools available in the scientific Python ecosystem, while generating low-level C code and using just-in-time compilation for performance-critical computation. We show a worked-out example of its API, and validate the accuracy of the code against seven idealized test cases. This version 0.9 of Parcels is focused on laying out the API, with future work concentrating on support for curvilinear grids, optimization, efficiency and at-runtime coupling with OGCMs.