Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 15 Issue 01

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Volume 15, No. 1
Pages 29 - 43

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The global ocean has its own “weather” phenomena, although with greatly different time and space scales compared to the atmosphere. Oceanic mesoscale eddies are typically about 100 km in diameter which makes them 20–30 times smaller than comparable atmospheric highs and lows. The ocean’s “jet streams” are the western boundary currents and their extensions into the interior ocean. The currents have speeds on the order of 1 m/s compared to atmospheric speeds that can be 100 times this value. The space scales of the meanders on these high-speed streams are similar to those for the eddies mentioned above. Knowing and predicting these oceanic mesoscale features have numerous naval applications which include tactical planning, optimum track ship routing, search and rescue and supplying boundary conditions for high resolution coastal models, to name a few.


Rhodes, R.C., H.E. Hurlburt, A.J. Wallcraft, C.N. Barron, P.J. Martin, E.J. Metzger, J.F. Shriver, D.S. Ko, O.M. Smedstad, S.L. Cross, and A.B. Kara. 2002. Navy real-time global modeling systems. Oceanography 15(1):29–43, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2002.34.

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