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AGU journal highlights -- Sept. 6, 2007
Date:9/10/2007

n Supercomputing Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.A., and Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.A.

Source:
Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2007GL030447, 2007, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007GL030447


10. Global observations of large oceanic eddies

Oceanic Rossby waves are medium-scale motions that transport energy westward in response to the Earth's rotational forces. By contrast, other motions called eddies can transport momentum, heat, and seawater, contributing to general circulation and affecting ocean biology. Distinguishing between Rossby waves and eddies is difficult because identifying both requires long-term and detailed monitoring over a broad spatial scale. Chelton et al. have analyzed 10-years of global sea-surface height fields using a new database that combines altimeter data from NASA and European Space Agency satellites. They find that the higher resolution of the merged dataset shows that nearly 60 percent of the variability over much of the world's oceans is due to eddies, with the majority of eddy motion occurring outside of the tropics. These eddies had sea surface heights of 525 centimeters (2-9.8 inches) and diameters of 100200 kilometers (60-120 miles). The eddies are thought to be generated by instabilities in background currents or by the instability of Rossby waves themselves.

Title:
Global observations of large oceanic eddies

Authors:
Dudley B. Chelton, Michael G. Schlax, Roger M. Samelson, and Roland A. de Szoeke: College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, U.S.A.

Source:
Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2007GL030812, 2007, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007GL030812


11. Magnetic reconnection at large and small scales


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Contact: Peter Weiss
pweiss@agu.org
202-777-7507
American Geophysical Union
Source:Eurekalert

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