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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 235:299-302 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps235299

An error frequently made in the evaluation of advective transport in two-dimensional Lagrangian models of advection-diffusion in coral reef waters

S. Spagnol1,*, E. Wolanski1, E. Deleersnijder2, R. Brinkman1, F. McAllister1, B. Cushman-Roisin3, E. Hanert2

1Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB No. 3, Townsville MC, Queensland 4810, Australia
2Institut d¹astronomie et de géophysique Georges Lemaître, Université catholique de Louvain, 2 Chemin du cylcotron, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
3Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755-8000, USA

ABSTRACT: The flushing time of reef lagoons estimated over recent years by 2-dimensional Lagrangian algorithms may have been significantly overestimated. This is due to a numerical artefact, leading to spurious accumulation of particles in regions where the water depth or the diffusivity is smallest. The nature of this numerical problem has remained largely unknown in the coral reef modelling community, although it was described, along with an efficient remedy, in several studies which are about a decade old. The numerical problem under consideration and its consequences on the modelled transport of coral eggs at Bowden Reef, Great Barrier Reef, are briefly assessed in the present article.

KEY WORDS: Particle tracking · Lagrangian algorithms · Advection-diffusion equation

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