Advances in Earth Science ›› 2009, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (11): 1219-1228. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2009.11.1219

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Rossby Waves in the North Pacific Ocean: A Review

ZHANG Yongchui, ZHANG Lifeng   

  1. Institute of Meteorology, PLA University of Science and Technology, Nanjing 211101, China
  • Received:2009-04-02 Revised:2009-09-22 Online:2009-11-10 Published:2009-11-10

ZHANG Yongchui, ZHANG Lifeng. Rossby Waves in the North Pacific Ocean: A Review[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2009, 24(11): 1219-1228.

The baroclinic Rossby waves took a substantial role in the adjustment of dynamic processes in global ocean. The studies of the Rossby waves in the North Pacific Ocean were reviewed, focusing on the satellite observing, theories extended and models applied. Beside the satellite altimeter data detecting the ubiquitous Rossby waves in ocean, other oceanic surface signals (sea surface temperature, ocean color and sea surface salinity) could also reflect the planetary waves′ characteristics, which suggested that the Rossby waves not only functioned in dynamics, but also acted on thermodynamics and biology. Moreover, at mid and high-latitude, the phase speeds of the observed waves were faster than those given by standard linear Rossby waves theory. The two extended theories explaining the speedup phenomena were presented. First, the Rossby waves were forced by wind stress and were coupled with the overlying atmosphere, so were not free. Second, the ocean′s background state was not at rest, and also the ocean had a varying bottom. The linear dynamic models forced by wind stress were introduced, including the first baroclinic Rossby waves model, local Ekman pumping model and Sverdrup balance model. In particular, the applications of these models in sea surface height and thermocline/pycnocline depth variability in the North Pacific Ocean were described in detail. Finally, the existing questions of linear Rossby waves theory were discussed, and outstanding issues were advanced.

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