|Carl-Gustaf Rossby oceanography|
- Low slow waves
- rise inches or yards
- and cross the seas
- from east to west
- in months or years.
On a spinning planet
- Air or water on a spinning planet
- has zero vorticity at the equator
- and increasing vorticity
- nearer and nearer to the poles,
- clockwise in the north
- and counterclockwise in the south,
- and will conserve its potential vorticity
- when displaced north or south.
- Displacement of a parcel of ocean
- toward the north pole
- results in a clockwise vortex,
- which moves water on its west side northward
- pushing the thermocline down
- and water to the east side southward
- pulling the thermocline up
- and results in a westward wave.
- A planet’s atmosphere
- conserves its potential vorticity,
- so Rossby waves appear
- to make the jet stream meander.
- You can’t see them
- with, as it were, the naked eye.
- They’re too big, too slow,
- too subtle, too silent, too distant.
- Satellite altimetry can show them
- stealthily crossing the seas.
- If you close your eyes,
- as it were, the noise would recede.