Deep Current Measurements Suggest Long Waves in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific

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Science  03 Sep 1976:
Vol. 193, Issue 4256, pp. 883-885
DOI: 10.1126/science.193.4256.883


During the 1975 El Niño expedition an array of conventional and electric field type near-bottom current recorders was deployed at the equator 300 kilometers west of the Galápagos Islands. While hydrographic observations were indicating El Niño activity off the South American coast, the current meters recorded an oscillation with a 25-day period, a wavelength of about 1000 kilometers, and an amplitude of 0.04 meter per second propagating westward at approximately 0.5 meter per second. These characteristics agree with theoretical models of a first-mode baroclinic Rossby wave trapped at the equator.