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Elementary Rossby waves


Norman A. Phillips

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US
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The linearized shallow water equations, when applied to a rotating annulus of homogeneous fluid with a free surface, and depth proportional to radius squared, have solutions expressible in elementary functions. The low frequency “second-class” part of the spectrum obeys an equation similar to Haurwitz's formula for Rossby waves on the earth. An approximate analysis shows that the second class oscillations correspond to inertia waves of low frequency in an annulus with a sloping rigid top surface. The frequency formula is verified by an experiment in which the waves are created by an oscillating paddle.

How to Cite: Phillips, N.A., 2012. Elementary Rossby waves. Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 17(3), pp.296–301. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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