Spectral description of oceanic near-surface variability

Shane Elipot, Rick Lumpkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This paper provides a spectral description of near-surface oceanic velocity variability on a global scale. Rotary spectra of drifter velocities are estimated in zonal bands of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The partition of energy between cyclonic and anticyclonic frequencies clearly identifies inertial oscillations at all latitudes. The meridional distribution of near-inertial energy is described in detail. The polarization of super-inertial energy is consistent with internal waves dynamics. Thus, the distribution of super-inertial energy may be a manifestation of freely propagating near-inertial waves on the β-plane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL05606
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 16 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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