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Model parameter estimation using coherent structure colouring

Schlueter-Kuck, Kristy L. and Dabiri, John O. (2019) Model parameter estimation using coherent structure colouring. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 861 . pp. 886-900. ISSN 0022-1120.

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Lagrangian data assimilation is a complex problem in oceanic and atmospheric modelling. Tracking drifters in large-scale geophysical flows can involve uncertainty in drifter location, complex inertial effects and other factors which make comparing them to simulated Lagrangian trajectories from numerical models extremely challenging. Temporal and spatial discretisation, factors necessary in modelling large scale flows, also contribute to separation between real and simulated drifter trajectories. The chaotic advection inherent in these turbulent flows tends to separate even closely spaced tracer particles, making error metrics based solely on drifter displacements unsuitable for estimating model parameters. We propose to instead use error in the coherent structure colouring (CSC) field to assess model skill. The CSC field provides a spatial representation of the underlying coherent patterns in the flow, and we show that it is a more robust metric for assessing model accuracy. Through the use of two test cases, one considering spatial uncertainty in particle initialisation, and one examining the influence of stochastic error along a trajectory and temporal discretisation, we show that error in the coherent structure colouring field can be used to accurately determine single or multiple simultaneously unknown model parameters, whereas a conventional error metric based on error in drifter displacement fails. Because the CSC field enhances the difference in error between correct and incorrect model parameters, error minima in model parameter sweeps become more distinct. The effectiveness and robustness of this method for single and multi-parameter estimation in analytical flows suggest that Lagrangian data assimilation for real oceanic and atmospheric models would benefit from a similar approach.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Schlueter-Kuck, Kristy L.0000-0002-6335-168X
Dabiri, John O.0000-0002-6722-9008
Additional Information:© 2018 Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use. (Received 6 April 2018; revised 13 September 2018; accepted 4 November 2018; first published online 28 December 2018) This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and by the Department of Defense (DoD) through the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) Program.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:chaotic advection, geophysical and geological flows, nonlinear dynamical systems
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190422-155745759
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Official Citation:Schlueter-Kuck, K., & Dabiri, J. (2019). Model parameter estimation using coherent structure colouring. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 861, 886-900. doi:10.1017/jfm.2018.898
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:94866
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Apr 2019 14:27
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 21:07

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