Colloquium 1999


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31th International Liège Colloquium on Ocean Hydrodynamics

Three-Dimensional Ocean Circulation: Lagrangian measurements and diagnostic analyses

Liège, May 3-7 1999

General introduction

For more than two decades freely-drifting systems tracked by satellites have been used to explore the marine environment. Low-cost expendable surface drifters were seeded in most of the world's ocean and seas to map the surface circulation. Instrumented drifters were operated to measure physical, optical and biochemical properties of the upper ocean. Sub-surface floats were tracked acoustically to measure intermediate currents, including the vertical velocity. More recently, autonomous Lagrangian devices have been probing the ocean interior providing drift measurements and property profiles in the water column.

Parallel to the development of the above Lagrangian techniques, considerable research has been dedicated in recent years to diagnosing the three-dimensional circulation, including the vertical velocity, by inversion of the potential vorticity mapped from hydrographic data. Diagnostic techniques like the solution of the quasi-geostrophic omega equation are simplifications of this concept and provide an elegant and efficient way to use oceanographic observations to understand ocean circulation processes at all scales. These applications can also aid in the interpretation of biogeochemical observations in the marine environment.

The 31st International Liege Colloquium on Ocean Hydrodynamics will provide the opportunity for reviewing recent developments on the three-dimensional ocean circulation as inferred from Lagrangian techniques and diagnostic analyses, and on the connections between hydrodynamics and ecosystems (biogeochemical properties). It will serve as the first forum for oceanographers to discuss the Lagrangian and diagnostic applications in the ocean sciences with specific focus on the three-dimensional ocean circulation.

The Colloquium will be organized around the following themes :

Surface drifters to map the upper ocean circulation, underwater floats and autonomous profiler systems to measure the three-dimensional subsurface currents at all scales, from the large basin scale to sub-mesoscale structures. Lagrangian and diagnostic techniques to study ocean eddies and meandering fronts and to explore ocean turbulence and non-linear dynamics. Lagrangian methods in numerical simulations. Assimilation of Lagrangian data in numerical models. Development and evaluation of various theoretical techniques for diagnosing the three-dimensional circulation, including the vertical velocity, from hydrographic data and current observations; the application of such methods to synoptic data sets in different oceans and different physical oceanographic regimes; the utilization of such diagnostic results to study ocean dynamics and to interpret biochemical observations in the ocean.

Papers dealing with any aspect of the above topics are welcome, including theoretical, experimental and numerical approaches.

International Scientific Organizing Committee

Mark ABBOTT, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA
John T. ALLEN, Southampton Oceanography Center, EU
Jack BARTH, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA
Jean-Marie BECKERS, GHER, University of Liege, EU
Andre BERGER, ASTR, University of Louvain, EU
Russ DAVIS, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, USA
Jean-Claude GASCARD, LODYC, University Paris VI, EU
Annalisa GRIFFA, Instituto per lo studio dell Oceanographia Fisica, La Spezia, EU
Robert L. HANEY, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, USA
Shiro IMAWAKI, Kyushu University, Kasuga, Japan
Dong-Kyn LEE, Pusan National University, Korea
Pearn NIILER, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, USA
Jacques C.J. NIHOUL, GHER, University of Liege, EU, (Chairman)
Pierre-Marie POULAIN, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, USA
Gilles REVERDIN, GRGS, Toulouse, EU
Hans Thomas ROSSBY, University of Rhode Island, USA
Daniel RUDNICK, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, USA
Joaquim TINTORE, IMEDEA, Universitat de les Illes Balears, EU


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Local Organizing Committee


ModEnvironment, GHER
University of Liege
B5 Sart Tilman
B-4000 Liege, Belgium
Fax : 32 4 3662355
E-mail :

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The members of the Organizing Committees wish to express their gratitude to the :

for their valuable assistance in organizing the Colloquium.

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