This article reviews the transport properties of coherent vortices in rotating barotropic flows. It is shown that vortices induce regular Lagrangian motion inside their cores and are highly impermeable to inward and outward particle fluxes. Passive tracers can be trapped inside vortex cores for long times and are transported by the vortex motion over large distances. Absolute dispersion in vortex-dominated flows is discussed by studying particle dynamics in 2D turbulence, point-vortex systems, and subsurface float trajectories in the ocean. Finally, it is shown that anticyclonic coherent vortices in cyclonically rotating reference frames can concentrate heavy impurities (e.g. dust grains) in their cores. This process may play an important role in the formation of planetesimals in the early solar nebula.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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