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RossbyLinks

Carl-Gustav Rossby: the great one who started it all!

Global observations of Rossby waves by Dudley Chelton &  Michael Schlax (1996)

Rossby waves in the North Atlantic by Paulo Polito & Peter Cornillon

Two short articles from NOCS's Ocean Zone Newsletter

Sensing invisible waves by David Cromwell & Paolo Cipollini

Waves within waves by Katy Hill

Satellite Links

TOPEX/POSEIDON and Jason-1

The new European satellite ENVISAT

The ERS satellites

The ATSR radiometer on board ERS

Ocean colour from SeaWiFS

At the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, people involved in satellite oceanography have long been working alongside modellers and theoreticians to unveil the secrets of Rossby waves and other propagating systems (such as eddies and Kelvin waves) in the ocean. This page summarises our results in terms of remote sensing of these phenomena. There is also a list of references at the bottom.

If you are not familiar with Rossby waves, you may want to have a look at the introduction first......

To begin with, we have studied Rossby waves in altimeter data (starting from Geosat, then TOPEX/POSEIDON and the altimeters on board the ERS satellites - now following on with Jason-1 and ENVISAT). The initial approach (and still a pretty good one) was to look for the waves in longitude/time plots of Sea Surface Height Anomalies, and possibly analyse them by Fourier Analysis. Then we started using the Radon Transform (a quite popular transform in the field of seismology). At this stage we extended the Radon Transform to the 3-D domain and implemented it into MATLAB in order to study the directional properties of the waves (i.e. any possible deviation from a pure westward propagation). This is the subject of a paper published in JAOT.

The investigations have been extended to the global Sea Surface Temperature field from the ATSR radiometer on board ERS  (see the relevant paper by Hill et al. appeared in JGR-Oceans).

We also detect clearly the signature of Rossby waves in the chlorophyll-a field from ocean colour sensors. See the original paper by Cipollini et al published in GRL, and a new study on the possible physical/biological mechanisms in collaboration with Mete Uz of the University of Maryland. This research is now being carried forward within our collaboration with Guillume Charria, Isabelle Dadou and other colleagues at LEGOS, Toulouse.

Recently, we started trying a different approach to look for Rossby waves in satellite data - that is, looking for solitary waves. - see reference. A slide show reviews past and recent techniques, and how they have been implemented with MATLAB.

The RossbyPlayers @ NOCS

Many NOCS staff & students have contributed to observations of Rossby waves and other propagating systems from satellite data at NOCS during the last few years - some of them have now moved to pastures new, while others are still around. In strict alphabetical order (and with links for those who are still at NOCS!): Peter Challenor, Paolo Cipollini, David Cromwell, Katy Hill (now at CSIRO Hobart), Joël Hirschi, Richenda Houseago-Stokes, Matt Jones, Stefania Marsili, Doug McNeall (now at MetOffice), Graham Quartly, Ian Robinson, Robin Tokmakian (now at Naval Postgraduate School). We also have had help from visiting scientists (Guillaume Charria, Angela Maharaj, Thierry Penduff, Mete Uz), past students (Stefano Colombo, Albanne Lecointre, Stefano Raffaglio, Laura Edwards, Emma Lazzeri) and present students (Rob O'Brien, Anna Sutcliffe).

And, last but not least, we gratefully acknowledge the support and guidance of our modellers and theoreticians in the Ocean Modelling and Forecasting Research Group (with many thanks to Jeff Blundell, and a special thought to the memory of the late Prof. Peter Killworth who was a truly inspiration for this research over many years)

References - refereed papers
(For reprints, see also e-prints Soton )

  • Hirschi J. J.-M., P.D. Killworth, J.R. Blundell: Sea surface height signals as indicators for oceanic meridional mass transports. Journal of Physical Oceanography [accepted]
  • G. Charria, I. Dadou, P. Cipollini, M. Drévillon, and V. Garçon, Influence of Rossby waves on primary production from a coupled physical-biogeochemical model in the North Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Science, 4, 199-213, 2008.
  • A. Lecointre, T. Penduff, P. Cipollini, R. Tailleux, and B. Barnier, Depth dependence of westward-propagating North Atlantic features diagnosed from altimetry and a numerical 1/6-degree model, Ocean Science, 4, 99-113, 2008
  • Angela M. Maharaj, Paolo Cipollini, Neil J. Holbrook, Peter D. Killworth, Jeffrey R. Blundell, An evaluation of the classical and extended Rossby wave theories in explaining spectral estimates of the first few baroclinic modes in the South Pacific Ocean, Ocean Dynamics, v. 57, no. 3, pp 173-187, 2007.
  • Laura A. Edwards, Richenda E. Houseago-Stokes and Paolo Cipollini, Altimeter observations of the MJO/ENSO connection through Kelvin waves, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 27, no. 06, 20 March 2006, pp. 1193-1203, 2006.
  • G. Charria, I. Dadou, P. Cipollini, M. Drévillon, P. De Mey, and V. Garçon, Understanding the influence of Rossby waves on surface chlorophyll concentrations in the North Atlantic Ocean, J. Mar. Research, vol. 64, pp. 43-71, 2006
  • P. Cipollini, P. G. Challenor, S.Colombo, "A method for tracking individual planetary waves in remotely sensed data", IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 159-166. doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2005.859355, 2006
  • P. Cipollini, G. D. Quartly, P. G. Challenor, D. Cromwell and I. S. Robinson, "Remote sensing of extra-equatorial planetary waves in the oceans" in Manual of Remote Sensing vol. 6 - Remote Sensing of the Marine Environment, chapter 3, pp. 61-84, ASPRS. (PDF file, 2.2MB - this is an excellent summary of our work in the field)
  • A. M. Maharaj, P. Cipollini, N. J. Holbrook, "Observed variability of the South Pacific westward sea level anomaly signal in the presence of bottom topography", Geophys. Res. Letters, 32, L04611, doi:10.1029/2004GL020966, 2005.
  • P. D. Killworth, P. Cipollini, B. M. Uz, J. R. Blundell, "Physical and biological mechanisms for planetary waves observed in sea-surface chlorophyll", J. Geophys. Res., 109, C07002, doi:10.1029/2003JC001768, 2004.(PDF file - 2.5MB))
  • P. G. Challenor, P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, K. L. Hill, G. D. Quartly, I. S. Robinson, "Global characteristics of Rossby wave propagation from multiple satellite datasets", International Journal of Remote Sensing , vol. 25, no. 7-8, pp. 1297-1302, 2004. (PDF file - 2019k)
  • G. D. Quartly, P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, P. G. Challenor, "Rossby waves: synergy in action", Phil. Trans. R. Soc. London A, 10.1098/rsta.2002.1108, 2003. (PDF file - 235k)
  • T. H. Guymer, P. G. Challenor, P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, G. D. Quartly, M. A. Srokosz, P. D. Cotton, "Multi-sensor satellite monitoring of ocean climate", Operational Oceanography, Implementation at the European and Regional Scales, Proceedings of the second international Conference on EuroGOOS, 11-13 March 1999, Rome, Italy, edited by N. C. Flemming et al., pp. 405-419, Elsevier Science Ltd, 2002. (Elsevier Oceanography Series, 66). (PDF file - 2358k)
  • D. Cromwell, "Sea surface observations of the 34N 'waveguide' in the North Atlantic", Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 28 , No. 19, pp. 3705-3708, 2001. (PDF file - 639k)
  • P. G. Challenor, P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, "Use of the 3-D Radon Transform to examine the properties of oceanic Rossby waves", Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, vol. 18, no. 9, pp. 1558-1566, 2001. (PDF file - 1256k). See also: "Corrigendum", JAOT, vol. 19, no. 5, p. 828, 2002. (we have also a related poster, PDF file - 751k)
  • P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, P. G. Challenor and S Raffaglio, "Rossby waves detected in global ocean colour data", Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 28 , No. 2, pp. 323-326, 2001. (PDF file - 991k)
  • K. L. Hill, I. S. Robinson, P. Cipollini, "Propagation characteristics of extratropical planetary waves observed in the ATSR global sea surface temperature record", Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans,v. 105(C9), pp. 21,927-21.946, 2000. (PDF file - 9586k)
  • P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, G. D. Quartly and P. G. Challenor, "Remote Sensing of oceanic extra-tropical Rossby waves", Satellites, Oceanography and Society,edited by David Halpern, ch. 6, pp. 99-123, Elsevier Science Ltd, 2000. ISBN: 0-444-50501-6. 
  • P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, G. D. Quartly, "Observations of Rossby wave propagation in the Northeast Atlantic with TOPEX/POSEIDON altimetry", Advances in Space Research, Vol. 22, No. 11, pp. 1553-1556, 1999. 
  • P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, M. S. Jones, G. D. Quartly, P. G. Challenor, "Concurrent altimeter and infrared observations of Rossby wave propagation near 34° N in the Northeast Atlantic,"Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 24, No. 8 , pp. 889-892, 1997. (PDF file - 1570k). 
  • R. T. Tokmakian and P. G. Challenor, "Observations in the Canary Basin and the Azores Frontal Region Using Geosat Data", Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 98(C3), 4761-4773, 1993.

    References - selected conference papers and reports

    Recent papers from the Venice symposium on 15 years of progress in radar altimetry:

  • P. Cipollini, P. G. Challenor, D. Cromwell G. D. Quartly and I. S. Robinson, How satellites have improved our knowledge of extratropical planetary waves in the ocean, ESA SP-614, Proceedings of the Symposium on 15 years of progress in radar altimetry, Venice (Italy), 13-16 March 2006 (PDF file - 1.1 MB)
  • P. Cipollini, Altimetry, sea surface temperature and ocean colour unveil the effects of planetary waves on phytoplankton, ESA SP-614, Proceedings of the Symposium on 15 years of progress in radar altimetry, Venice (Italy), 13-16 March 2006 (PDF file - 400 KB)
  • some older papers:

  • P. Cipollini, "Multiple satellite observations of planetary waves: techniques and results", in E. Dalle Mese (Ed.), Proceedings of 2003 Tyrrhenian International Workshop on Remote Sensing, Elba Island (Italy), 14-18 September 2003, pp 134-143, Edizioni Plus, Univ. of Pisa, Italy, 2003. ISBN 88-8492-291-7 (PDF file - 1.7 MB)
  • P. Cipollini, P. G. Challenor, D. Cromwell, K. L. Hill, G. D. Quartly, I. S. Robinson, "Recent advances in remote sensing of extra-tropical Rossby waves", Proceedings of PORSEC 2000, Goa (India), 5-8 December 2000, Vol. I, pp. 271-275, 2000.
  • P. Cipollini, P. G. Challenor, D. Cromwell, G. D. Quartly, S. Raffaglio, "Observation of Rossby waves in satellite derived chlorophyll-a data", Proceedings of PORSEC 2000, Goa (India), 5-8 December 2000, Vol. II, pp. 530-533, 2000.
  • G. D. Quartly, P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, P. G. Challenor, "Synergistic observations of Rossby waves", Proceedings of the ERS-ENVISAT Symposium, Gothenburg (Sweden), 16-20 October 2000, CD-ROM. (PDF file, 1270k)
  • K. L. Hill, I. S. Robinson, P. Cipollini, "The signature of Rossby waves in the ATSR dataset", Proceedings of the ERS-ENVISAT Symposium, Gothenburg (Sweden), 16-20 October 2000, CD-ROM. (PDF file, 743k)
  • P. Cipollini, P. G. Challenor, D. Cromwell, G. D. Quartly and S. Raffaglio, "Detection of Rossby waves in ocean colour data", Proceedings of IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2000), Honolulu, Hawaii (USA), 24-28 July 2000, in press. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE. (download the PDF file - 206k)
  • P. Cipollini, P. G. Challenor, D. Cromwell, K, L, Hill, G. D. Quartly and I. S. Robinson, "Remote sensing of oceanic Rossby waves: new techniques and results", Proceedings of IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2000), Honolulu, Hawaii (USA), 24-28 July 2000, in press. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE. (download the PDF file - 469k)
  • D. Cromwell and J Blundell, "Rossby waves in models", Southampton Oceanography Centre Internal Document, No. 54, 74 pp., March 2000 (see it in HTML)
  • G. D. Quartly, P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, P. G. Challenor, S. Raffaglio, "Detecting Rossby waves across the whole spectrum", Proceedings of RSS'99 - Earth Observation:from data to information - Cardiff, 8-10 September 1999, pp. 255-261. ISBN: 0 946226 27 X.
  • K. L. Hill, I. S. Robinson, P. Cipollini, "Extratropical planetary wave propagation characteristics from the ATSR global Sea Surface Temperature record", Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Applications of the ERS Along Track Scanning Radiometer, Frascati (Italy) 23-25 June 1999.
  • P. Cipollini, P. G. Challenor, D. Cromwell, T. H. Guymer, S. Raffaglio, "The detectability of Rossby waves in ocean colour data", Southampton Oceanography Centre Internal Document, No. 44, 29 pp., 1999 (see it in HTML)
  • P. G. Challenor, P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, "Using the Radon transform to examine the properties of Rossby waves", Proceedings of Symposium on Studies of Ocean and Solid Earth Dynamics Using Satellite Altimetry Data, Fukuoka (Japan), 12-13 November 1998, pp. 1-7, Univ, of Kyushu, 1999.
  • P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, M. S. Jones, G. D. Quartly and P. G. Challenor, "Satellite investigations of Rossby waves: a study of directional properties and topographic effects", Proceedings of the International Symposium ëMonitoring the Oceans in the 2000s: an integrated approach, Biarritz (France), 15-17 October 1997, CNES, Toulouse (France), 1997.
  • P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, M. S. Jones, G. D. Quartly and P. G. Challenor, "The potential of ERS for the detection of Rossby waves in the Northeast Atlantic", ESA SP-414Proc. of 3rd ERS Symposium - Space at the Service of our Environment, Florence (Italy), 17-21 March 1997, Vol. 3, pp. 1473-1478, European Space Agency, 1997. ISBN: 92-9092-656-2 Noordwijk (The Netherlands): ESA/ESTEC.
  • P. Cipollini, D. Cromwell, G. D. Quartly, "Variability of Rossby wave propagation in the North Atlantic from TOPEX/POSEIDON altimetry," Proceedings of IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS '96), Lincoln (Nebraska), 27-31 May 1996, vol. I, pp. 91-93, 1996. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE.
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