Submitted as: model description paper 04 Oct 2021

Submitted as: model description paper | 04 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

LAPS v1.0.0: Lagrangian Advection of Particles at Sea, a Matlab program to simulate the displacement of particles in the ocean

Maxime Mouyen1, Romain Plateaux2, Alexander Kunz3, Philippe Steer4, and Laurent Longuevergne4 Maxime Mouyen et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Space and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2YouWol Asia-Pacific, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 3Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 4Univ Rennes, CNRS, Geosciences Rennes - UMR 6118, F-35000 Rennes, France

Abstract. We develop a Matlab program named LAPS (Lagrangian Advection of Particles at Sea) to simulate the advection of suspended particles in the global ocean with a minimal user effort to install, set and run the simulations. LAPS uses the 3D sea current velocity fields provided by ECCO2 to track the fate of suspended particles injected in the ocean, at specific places and times, during a period of time. LAPS runs with a short configuration file set by the user and returns the distribution of the particles at the end of the advection. A continuous tracking option is also available to record the complete trajectory of the particles throughout the entire period of advection. The effect of water waves, or Stokes drift, which alter sea surface current velocities, can also be taken into account. The principle and usage of the program is detailed and then applied to three case studies. The first two cases studies are applied to suspended sediment transport. We show how LAPS simulations can be used to investigate the spatio-temporal distribution of fine particles observed by satellites in the upper ocean. We also estimated sediment deposit areas on the seafloor as a function of sediment grain sizes. The third case study simulates the dispersion of microplastic particles during a tropical cyclone, and shows how the Stokes drift, which is significant during storm events, alters the particles trajectories compared to the case where the Stokes drift is neglected.

Maxime Mouyen et al.

Status: open (until 29 Nov 2021)

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Maxime Mouyen et al.

Data sets

Datasets for "LAPS v1.0.0: Lagrangian Advection of Particles at Sea, a Matlabprogram to simulate the displacement of particles in the ocean." Maxime Mouyen, Romain Plateaux, Alexander Kunz, Philippe Steer, Laurent Longuevergne

Model code and software

LAPS Maxime Mouyen

Video supplement

Simulations of ocean plastic littering Alexander Kunz

Maxime Mouyen et al.


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Short summary
LAPS is an easy to use Matlab code that allows simulating the transport of particles in the ocean without any programming requirement. The simulation is based on publicly available ocean current velocity fields and allows to output particles spatial distribution and trajectories at time intervals defined by the user. After explaining how LAPS is working, we show a few examples of applications for studying sediment transport or plastic littering. The code is available on Github.