Lagrangian Based Methods for Coherent Structure Detection
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There has been a proliferation in the development of Lagrangian analytical methods for detecting coherent structures in fluid flow transport, yielding a variety of qualitatively different approaches. We present a review of four approaches and demonstrate the utility of these methods via their application to the same sample analytic model, the canonical double-gyre flow, highlighting the pros and cons of each approach. Two of the methods, the geometric and probabilistic approaches, are well established and require velocity field data over the time interval of interest to identify particularly important material lines and surfaces, and influential regions, respectively. The other two approaches, implementing tools from cluster and braid theory, seek coherent structures based on limited trajectory data, attempting to partition the flow transport into distinct regions. All four of these approaches share the common trait that they are objective methods, meaning that their results do not depend on the frame of reference used. For each method, we also present a number of example applications ranging from blood flow and chemical reactions to ocean and atmospheric flows. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.