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Free Content On the barotropic planetary oscillations of the Pacific

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Free linear solutions of the barotropic shallow-water equations are computed for a variety of basin shapes and topographies relevant to the Pacific Ocean. Attention is drawn to the 2-day to 6-day period band within which large-scale coherency is observed in Pacific tide-gauge records of sea level. In a particular model basin with realistic topography, the fundamental planetary mode of the Pacific occurs with a period of 3 days and four other planetary-topographic modes populate the 4–6 day period band. We argue that the frequencies and structures of these modes are representative of the largest-scale vorticity oscillations of the Pacific and may help account for the observed broad-bandedness of sea-level in the 4–6 day period band. These predictions will guide future analyses of sea-level and bottom-pressure observations from which a direct estimate of the frictional damping of barotopic Rossby waves may ultimately be obtained.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 1989

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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