The inverse problem of inferring transit-time distributions<br/><br/>from tracer observations in the ocean

Monday, April 12, 2010 - 10:00am - 10:45am
EE/CS 3-180
François Primeau (University of California)
Keywords: Transit-time distribution (TTD); tracer transport; inverse problem; maximum-entropy deconvolution

Abstract: I will discuss the inverse problem of inferring the Green's function for advective-diffusive transport (also known as the transit-time distribution) from tracer observations. Tracers with different boundary conditions and/or different radio-active decay rates probe different transport pathways and timescales. Using multiple tracers in combination can therefore help constrain the full transit-time distribution (TTD). I will review two inversion methodologies applicable to ocean tracer measurements, one based on a parametric model for the TTD and one based on a more flexible maximum-entropy deconvolution approach. Because the oceanographic inverse problem is grossly under-determined an important focus of this talk will be on quantifying the uncertainty associated with the inversion results.
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