Sea level variability in the eastern tropical Pacific as observed by TOPEX and Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean Experiment Academic Article uri icon


  • Sea surface height measurements from the TOPEX altimeter and dynamic height from Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean (TOGA TAO) moorings are used to explore sea level variability in the northeastern tropical Pacific Ocean. After the annual harmonic is removed, there are two distinct bands of variability. The variability at 5-7N is identified as instability waves formed just south of the North Equatorial Countercurrent during the months of July through March. The variability at 11N in 1993 has the form of anticyclonic eddies. These eddies propagate westward at a speed of about 17 cm s-1, consistent with the dispersion characteristics of free Rossby waves. The eddies are shown to have their origin near the coast of Central America during northern fall and winter. The variability at 11N has very little overlap in time with the variability at 5N. -from Authors

published proceedings

  • Journal of Geophysical Research

author list (cited authors)

  • Giese, B. S., Carton, J. A., & Holl, L. J.

complete list of authors

  • Giese, BS||Carton, JA||Holl, LJ

publication date

  • January 1994