Recent results suggest that boundaries of coherent fluid vortices (elliptic coherent structures) can be identified as closed null geodesics of appropriate Lorentzian metrics defined on the flow domain. Here we derive an automated method for computing such null geodesics based on the geometry of the underlying geodesic flow. Our approach simplifies and improves existing procedures for computing variationally defined Eulerian and Lagrangian vortex boundaries. As an illustration, we compute objective vortex boundaries from satellite-inferred ocean velocity data. A MATLAB implementation of our method is available at https://github.com/MattiaSerra/Closed-Null-Geodesics-2D.
- Received October 29, 2016.
- Accepted February 3, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.