Modeling the dynamical sinking of biogenic particles in oceanic flow

Monroy, Pedro; Hernandez-Garcia, Emilio; Rossi, Vincent; Lopez, Cristobal
Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics 24, 293-305 (2017)

We study the problem of sinking particles in a realistic oceanic flow, with major energetic structures in the mesoscale, focussing in the range of particle sizes and densities appropriate for marine biogenic particles. Our aim is to unify the theoretical
investigations with its applications in the oceanographic context and considering a mesoscale simulation of the oceanic velocity field. By using the equation of motion of small particles in a fluid flow, we assess the influence of physical processes such as the Coriolis force and the inertia of the particles, and we conclude that they represent negligible corrections to the most important terms, which are passive motion with the velocity of the flow, and a constant added vertical velocity due to gravity. Even if within this approximation three-dimensional clustering of particles can not occur, two-dimensional cuts or projections of the evolving three-dimensional density can display inhomogeneities similar to the ones observed in sinking ocean particles.

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