Atmospheric Lagrangian transport structures and their applications to aerobiology

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Exploring the concepts of long range aerial transport of microorganisms is the main motivation of this study. For this purpose we use theories and concepts of dynamical systems in the context of geophysical fluid systems. We apply powerful notions such as finite-time Lyapunov exponent (FTLE) and the associated Lagrangian coherent structures (LCS) and we attempt to provide mathematical explanations and frameworks for some applied questions which are based on realistic concerns of atmospheric transport phenomena. Accordingly, we quantify the accuracy of prediction of FTLE-LCS features and we determine the sensitivity of such predictions to forecasting parameters. In addition, we consider the spatiotemporal resolution of the operational data sets and we propose the concept of probabilistic source and destination regions which leads to the definition of stochastic FTLE fields. Moreover, we put forward the idea of using ensemble forecasting to quantify the uncertainty of the forecast results. Finally, we investigate the statistical properties of localized measurements of atmospheric microbial structure and their connections to the concept of local FTLE time-series.

Results of this study would pave the way for more efficient models and management strategies for the spread of infectious diseases affecting plants, domestic animals, and humans.



Finite-time Lyapunov exponent (FTLE), Lagrangian coherent structure (LCS), chaotic atmospheric transport, unresolved turbulence, stochastic FTLE field, ensemble forecasting, uncertainty analysis, local FTLE time-series, maximal diversity monitoring