Diagnosing the Dispersion and Variance of Reacting Tracers: A Case Study In Narragansett Bay (RI)

Jenna Lynn Pearson1, Aakash Sane1, Baylor Fox-Kemper2 and Tal Ben-Horin3, (1)Brown University, Providence, RI, United States, (2)Brown University, Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Providence, RI, United States, (3)North Carolina State University, NC, United States
Coastal oceans are dynamically and ecologically diverse partitions of the global ocean that respond fervently to changes in pollutants, nutrients, and pathogens. Narragansett Bay is particularly sensitive, as recent studies reveal enhanced nutrient loading, toxic algal blooms and oyster bed infections. To characterize the spatial and temporal heterogeneities of these tracers, this work employs Lagrangian and Eulerian statistics of simulated reacting tracers using the Regional Ocean Modeling System. The dispersion of reactive tracers in the bay is investigated using transit time distributions, and new structure function theory is utilized to diagnose the impacts of the stirring action of the advecting flow on non-conservative1 tracer variance. These statistics provide insight into the transport and distribution of tracers, and are important for understanding their influence on ecosystem dynamics and the cycling of carbon.