TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 56 (No. 5), pp. 591-599, 2000

Short Contribution

P-Vector Spirals and Determination of Absolute Velocities

Peter C. Chu*

Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943, U.S.A.

(Received 26 July 1999; in revised form 14 December 1999; accepted 18 February 2000)

Abstract: A simple method to invert the absolute geostrophic velocity on potential-density surfaces is developed based on McDougall's (1988) conservation statements on potential-density surfaces and Chu's (1995) and McDougall's (1995) P-vector concept. This method has a capability to handle a system with diapycnal velocities and non-coincidence of potential-density and neutral surfaces. The validity of the inversion is the existence of the P-vector spirals instead of the existence of the velocity spirals (usually called the b -spirals). We use a climatological T, Sdataset for the Atlantic Ocean from the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) to show the benefit of using P-vector spirals in inverting the velocity field.

*author E-mail: pcchu@nps.navy.mil

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