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Flow networks: A characterization of geophysical fluid transport
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We represent transport between different regions of a fluid domain by flow networks, constructed from the discrete representation of the Perron-Frobenius or transfer operator associated to the fluid advection dynamics. The procedure is useful to analyze fluid dynamics in geophysical contexts, as illustrated by the construction of a flow network associated to the surface circulation in the Mediterranean sea. We use network-theory tools to analyze the flow network and gain insights into transport processes. In particular, we quantitatively relate dispersion and mixing characteristics, classically quantified by Lyapunov exponents, to the degree of the network nodes. A family of network
entropies is defined from the network adjacency matrix and related to the statistics of stretching in the fluid, in particular, to the Lyapunov exponent field. Finally, we use a network community detection algorithm, Infomap, to partition the Mediterranean network into coherent regions, i.e., areas internally well mixed, but with little fluid interchange between them.
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