Nonlinear features of equatorial baroclinic Rossby waves detected in Topex altimeter observations
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA 91109, USA
- (*)Department of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802-5013, USA
Abstract. Using a recently proposed technique for statistical analysis of non-gridded satellite altimeter data, regime of long equatorially-trapped baroclinic Rossby waves is studied. One-dimensional spatial and spatiotemporal autocorrelation functions of sea surface height (SSH) variations yield a broad spectrum of baroclinic Rossby waves and permit determination of their propagation speed. The 1-d wavenumber spectrum of zonal variations is given by a power-law k-2 on scales from about 103 km to 104 km. We demonstrate that the observed wave regime exhibits features of soliton turbulence developing in the long baroclinic Rossby waves. However, being limited to second statistical moments, the present analysis does not allow us to rule out a possibility of weak wave turbulence.