Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christopher D. Merrett
NASA RESEARCHERS AT the Goddard Institute for Space Studies describe Rossby Waves as “slow-moving waves in the ocean or atmosphere, driven from west to east by the force of Earth spinning.” These are naturally occurring phenomena first recognized in 1939 by a Swedish-American meteorologist named Carl-Gustav Rossby. These waves, which are found in both the atmosphere and the oceans, are important mechanisms for the redistribution of energy around the globe. In three sections, this essay describes the formation of atmospheric Rossby Waves, oceanic Rossby Waves, and the connection between Rossby Waves and global climate change. This eponymously named phenomenon was first identified as atmospheric oscillations that occurred in the mid-latitudes in the northern and southern hemispheres. In Europe and North America, people typically experience a Rossby wave as a large cold front plunging southward. The jet stream, guised as a tongue of cold air, dips southward as a large ...