Baroclinic Rossby Waves in Irregular Basins* Academic Article uri icon


  • The properties of baroclinic, quasigeostrophic Rossby basin waves are examined. Full analytical solutions are derived to elucidate the response in irregular basins, specifically in a (horizontally) tilted rectangular basin and in a circular one. When the basin is much larger than the (internal) deformation radius, the basin mode properties depend profoundly on whether one allows the streamfunction to oscillate at the boundary or not, as has been shown previously. With boundary oscillations, modes occur that have low frequencies and, with scale-selective dissipation, decay at a rate less than or equal to that of the imposed dissipation. These modes approximately satisfy the long-wave equation in the interior. Using both unforced and forced solutions, the variation of the response with basin geometry and dissipation is documented. The long-wave modes obtain with scale-selective dissipation, but also with damping that acts equally at all scales. One finds evidence of them as well in the forced response, even when the dissipation is weak and the corresponding free modes are apparently absent.

publication date

  • October 2002