National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2008

Equatorial Kelvin Wave influences may reach the Bering Sea during 2002 to 2005

Lyman, J.M., and G.C. Johnson

Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L14607, doi: 10.1029/2008GL034761 (2008)

The time-history of sea surface height (SSH) anomaly data from the TOPEX and Jason-1 altimeters is examined along the equator and northward following the west coast of the Americas. Along-track TOPEX and Jason-1 altimeter data are put into an alongshore–offshore coordinate system and then smoothed. This procedure increases the degrees of freedom in individual estimates of long-wavelength coastally trapped waves (CTWs) during times when both satellites are available (2002–2005). Equatorially trapped Kelvin waves are detected during the 2002–2003 El Niño. These Kelvin waves excite CTWs that travel northward along the west coast of the Americas. While CTWs associated with the 2002–2003 equatorial Kelvin waves are not always discernible along the entire coast, correlations of the coastal and equatorial SSH over the entire period of TOPEX and Jason-1 overlap show a clear phase progression. This phase progression implies remote influence of equatorial Kelvin waves that may reach as far north as the Bering Sea during the weak to moderate El Niño events that occurred from 2002 to 2005.

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