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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-118
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-118
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 Nov 2018

Research article | 20 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Submesoscale dispersion of surface drifters in a coastal sea near offshore wind farms

Ulrich Callies1, Ruben Carrasco1, Jens Floeter2, Jochen Horstmann1, and Markus Quante1 Ulrich Callies et al.
  • 1Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Str. 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
  • 2Institut für Hydrobiologie & Fischereiwissenschaft, Universität Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. We analyse relative dispersion of surface drifters released as pairs (6 instances) or triplets (2 instances) during three field experiments in the German Bight in close proximity to wind farms. Drifter pairs can be classified in a remarkably clear way into those with spatial separation growing either exponentially or non-monotonously. There is some tentative evidence that exponential relative dispersion growth rates preferably occur for drifter pairs that are most exposed to the possible influence of a wind farm. Kinetic energy spectra and velocity structure functions suggest that turbulent energy could be injected by tides, possibly also via an interaction between tidal currents and wind turbine towers. Applicability of inertial range turbulence theory, however, can be doubted given distinct peaks of overtides observed in velocity power spectra. More comprehensive studies would be needed to better separate submesoscale effects of wind farms, tides and possibly baroclinic instabilities on observed drifter behaviour in a complex coastal environment.

Ulrich Callies et al.
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Ulrich Callies et al.
Data sets

German Bight surface drifter data from Heincke cruise HE445 R. Carrasco and J. Horstmann https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.874511

Track of GPS-Drifters from HEINCKE cruise HE490 R. Carrasco, J. Floeter, and J. Horstmann https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.882329

Track of GPS-Drifters from HEINCKE cruise HE496 R. Carrasco, J. Floeter, and J. Horstmann https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.882346

Ulrich Callies et al.
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Short summary
We analyse how surface drifters separate when being released as pairs or triplets in close proximity to wind farms. There is some tentative evidence that these drifters experience turbulent flows arising from an interaction between tidal currents and wind turbine towers. However, more comprehensive studies would be needed to clearly distinguish such wind farm related effects from the effects of turbulence that naturally occurs in a complex coastal environment.
We analyse how surface drifters separate when being released as pairs or triplets in close...
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