Wavenumber spectrum in the Gulf stream from shipboard ADCP observations and comparison with altimetry measurements

Dong Ping Wang, Charles N. Flagg, Kathleen Donohue, H. Thomas Rossby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

The wavenumber spectra for velocity and temperature in the Gulf Stream region are calculated from a decade (1994-2004) of shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements taken as part of the Oleander Project. The velocity and temperature spectra have comparable magnitude, in terms of the kinetic and potential energy, and both indicate a k-3 slope in the mesoscales. In contrast, the corresponding velocity spectrum determined from satellite altimetry sea surface heights yields a significantly higher energy level and a k-2 slope. The discrepancy between altimeter-derived and directly measured velocity spectra suggests that altimetric velocity probably is contaminated by noise in sea surface height measurement. Also, the k-3 slope, which appears to be in agreement with two-dimensional quasigeostrophic turbulence theory, does not support the contemporary surface quasigeostrophic theory. These results highlight large gaps in the current understanding of the nature of surface geostrophic turbulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840-844
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Wavenumber spectrum in the Gulf stream from shipboard ADCP observations and comparison with altimetry measurements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this