A new approximation for the dynamics of topographic Rossby waves

Yosef Ashkenazy, Nathan Paldor, Yair Zarmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new theory of non-harmonic topographic Rossby waves over a slowly varying bottom depth of arbitrary, 1-D, profile is developed based on the linearised shallow water equations on the f-plane. The theory yields explicit approximate expressions for the phase speed and non-harmonic cross-slope structure of waves. Analytical expressions are derived in both Cartesian and Polar coordinates by letting the frequency vary in the cross-shelf direction and are verified by comparing them with the numerical results obtained by running an ocean general circulation model (the MITgcm). The proposed approximation may be suitable for studying open ocean and coastal shelf wave dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18160
JournalTellus, Series A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2012


  • Lake dynamics
  • Linearised shallow water equations
  • Perturbation method
  • Polar coordinates
  • Topographic waves

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science


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