- Abbreviation for Responsible National Oceanographic Data
Center, a facility established within the
framework of the IOC
IODE structure to take on the responsibility of
assisting the WDCs. This scheme was developed
to enable to international exchange system to cope with an increasing
variety and volume of oceanographic data being collected by providing
special data processing and compilation support for specific programs
and certain areas.
The RNODCs as of mid-2001 are:
- RNODC-SOC, operated by the NODC
of Argentina for data from the
- RNODC for Drifting Buoys Data, operated by MEDS,
Canada for data from drifting buoys;
- RNODCs for IGOSS, operated by the NODCs
of Japan, the USA and the Russian Federation for BATHY
and TESAC datasets;
- RNODCs for MARPOLMON, operated by the NODCs
of Japan, the USA and the Russian Federation for holding worldwide marine
- RNODC-WESTPAC, operated by the NODC of Japan for data from cruises in
the WESTPAC region;
- RNODC-Waves, operated by the BODC for archiving
instrumented wave data;
- RNODC-JASIN, operated by the BODC for archiving
data from the JASIN project;
- RNODC-Formats, operated by the Service Hydrographique of
ICES for international or project oriented oceanographic
- RNODC-ADCP, operated by the NODC of Japan for archiving and processing
ADCP data; and
- RNODC-INDO, operated by the NODC of India for storing data from research
activities in the Indian Ocean.
- Abbreviation for RNODC from the
Southern Oceans, a data center commissioned in 1988 within
IODE to acquire the physical and chemical
data obtained by the international scientific community in cruises and
research programs carried out in the Southern Oceans, control their
quality, store them in standard format, and distribute them upon
This center is a part of CEADO.
RNODC-SOC Web site.
- roaring forties
- The region between 40 and 50 S latitude where the prevailing
westerly winds blow largely unobstructed by land over the open oceans,
and also the winds themselves.
They are constant and of great velocity, whence comes the
term "roaring". The weather is stormy, rainy, and comparatively
mild in the wake of constantly appearing depressions. The land
areas that do obstruct them, the western mountainous coasts of
southern Chile, Tasmania and New Zealand, experience tremendous
rainfall through the year on the western sides (up to 100 in.)
and much less on the eastern sides (around 20 in.). These are
also known as brave west winds.
- A free vehicle benthic lander designed to characterize reaction at
and transport across the sediment-water interface.
ROLAI was designed for long duration deployments (i.e. greater
than 30 days) to measure the small fluxes and low reaction rates
typical of most of the deep ocean.
The lander does this my autonomously collecting sediment and pore
water samples as well as samples from benthic chambers.
Tracers can be released into the chambers to define such processes
as non-diffusive exchange across the interface.
See Sayles and Dickinson (1991).
- Romanche Fracture Zone
- See Mercier and Morin (1997) and
Messias et al. (1999).
- Acronym for Red de Observacion del Nivel del Mar para America
Central, or Water Level Observation Network for Latin America.
RONMAC was initiated as a response to the 1998 impact of Hurricane
Mitch on El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, with the
objective being to provide support for the development and improvement
of the geodetic framework of Central
The development phase will be executed from June 2000 to Dec. 31, 2001,
with the project continuing on an operational basis thereafter.
The activities include:
- installing six sea-level and meteorological monitoring stations;
- installing a ground station and facilitating real-time access to and
distribution of information;
- development of a national and regional capacity to install and maintain
the stations and to conduct data acquisition, analysis, archiving and
dissemination using automated database management technology; and
- strengthening the skills of host-country agencies via technology
transfer and capacity building.
- Acronym for the Ronne Polynya Experiment, carried out in the southern
Weddell Sea in January and February 1998
using the HMS Endurance.
The primary goal of the program was to obtain oceanographic,
sea-ice and atmospheric measurements to improve the understanding
of the physical processes coupling the southern Weddell Sea to the
circulation and properties of the global ocean and atmosphere.
- Acronym for Reports of Oceanographic Cruises and Oceanographic
Programs, a program conceived by the IOC
in the late 1960s to provide a low level inventory for tracking
oceanographic data collected on research vessels. It is a form
to be completed by a scientist on each cruise that provides
various metadata about what kinds of data were taken on the
cruise. It was renamed the Cruise Summary Report (CSR) in 1990
but the acronym ROSCOP persists.
See the ROSCOP Web site
where digitized forms of
collected ROSCOP info from the 1960s through the present
can be obtained.
- Acronym for Reflective Optics System Imaging Spectrometer,
a compact airborne imaging spectrometer.
This device was designed for the detection of spectral fine
structure in coastal waters.
ROSIS Web site.
- Ross, James Clark
- More later.
- Ross Sea
- See Jacobs et al. (1970),
Arrigo et al. (1998) and
Jacobs and Giulivi (1999).
- Rossby, Carl-Gustav Arvid (1898-1957)
- Rossby was born in Sweden and joined a group studying under
V. Bjerknes in 1918 after receiving his ``Kandidat'' in
theoretical mechanics. There he started his career in
meteorology as well as his interest in oceanography.
In 1921 he followed Bjerknes to the University of Leipzig
for a year and then returned to Stockholm in 1922 to a position
with the Swedish Meteorological Hydrologic Service.
Over the next three years he accompanied, as a meteorologist,
oceanographic expeditions to Jan Mayen in the Nordic Seas,
around the British Isles, and to Portugal and Madeira.
He also studied mathematical physics at the University of
Stockholm during this time and received his ``Licentiat''
In 1926 Rossby moved to the United States and continued
his research at the only extent meteorological center, the
Government Weather Bureau in Washington, D.C. He wrote
several significant papers on atmospheric turbulence
and stratospheric dynamics during this period and also
organized the first airway meterological service on an
experimental basis in California which provided the pattern
for future systems. In 1928 he organized the first university
level meteorological program in the United States at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 9MIT), in which he soon became
a full professor.
He spent eleven years at MIT and contributed to such areas as
the thermodynamics of air masses, turbulence in the atmosphere and
in the oceans, lateral mixing, and the interaction of the
ocean-atmosphere boundary layers. He gradually turned his
attentions to large-scale motions and the general circulation
of the atmosphere, to which he began to apply the concepts
of vorticity and momentum that permeate the field today.
In 1939 he became the assistant chief of research at the
U.S. Weather Bureau and in 1940 the chairman of the Department
of Meteorology at the University of Chicago, during which time
he developed his theory for the long waves in the atmosphere
that later came to be called Rossby waves.
During World War II he organized the training of military
meteorologists and continued his research on long waves in
the atmosphere. After the war he recruited many outstanding
future researchers for the University of Chicago and played
a significant role in the development of equations for the
prediction of weather using electronic computers. In 1947
he became the director of the newly formed Institute of
Meteorology in Stockholm and divided his time between there
and Chicago (although, for convenience, his American
affiliation was transferred to Woods Hole in the early 1950s.
At Stockholm Rossby's principal activities were concerned with
developing numerical prediction systems for European weather.
He also founded the geophysical journal Tellus. In 1954
he turned his attention to the field of geochemistry and also
became interested in deep circulation processes in the ocean.
He worked in these areas until his death in 1958.
- Rossby-gravity wave
- See Yanai wave.
- Rossby number
- A non-dimensional number expressing the ratio of inertial to
Coriolis forces in the atmosphere or
Rossby number is defined by
where is a characteristic velocity scale, the
Coriolis parameter, and
a characteristic length scale. If the Rossby number
is large, then the effect of the Earth's rotation on the
phenomenon in question can be neglected. This is also
called the Kibel number.
- Rossby radius of deformation
- The fundamental horizontal length scale in fluids that are
affected by both gravity and rotation. It is the length scale at
which rotation effects become as important as buoyancy effects.
In transient problems an initial disturbance at a scale small
compared to the Rossby radius will result in an adjustment
process about the same as would occur in a nonrotating system.
If the disturbance is on a scale comparable to the Rossby radius,
the Coriolis acceleration becomes as important as the pressure
gradient term and the response is markedly different than would
be seen in the nonrotating system.
In a homogeneous layer of fluid the
barotropic Rossby radius is
where is the gravity wave propagation velocity
the water depth, and
the Coriolis parameter.
In the deep ocean where H is 4 or 5 km, the baroclinic radius is
around 2000 km, but on the continental shelves with depths
closer to 50 to 100 m it is around 200 km.
In a stratified fluid the baroclinic
Rossby radius is similarly computed, except that is now the
wave speed of the nth baroclinic mode as would be found in
a normal mode decomposition of the
system. The baroclinic radius is a natural scale in the ocean
associated with boundary phenomena such as boundary currents,
fronts, and eddies. The first mode baroclinic radius is
typically around 10-30 km in the ocean. See
- Rossby wave
- Large scale waves in the ocean or atmosphere whose restoring
force is the -effect of latitudinal variation of
the local vertical component of the earth's angular
rotation vector, i.e. the Coriolis force. In the atmosphere
they are easily observed as the large-scale meanders of the
mid-latitude jet stream that are responsible for prevailing
seasonal (via blocking) and
day-to-day weather patterns. They are more difficult to
detect in the ocean as their sea surface height signature
is on the order of 10 cm, their propagation speeds of order
10 cm/s, and their wavelengths hundreds to thousands of
Rossby waves in the ocean are responsible for establishing
the westward intensification of circulation gyres, the Gulf
Stream being one example of this.
They are also the dynamic mechanism for the transient adjustment
of the ocean to changes in large-scale atmospheric forcing, e.g.
information is transmitted from the tropical oceans to mid- and
high-latitudes via Rossby waves acting in concert with coastal
They are generated by wind
and buoyancy forcing at the eastern boundaries and over
the ocean interior. They are also known to be generated by
perturbations along the eastern boundaries caused by coastal
trapped waves originating at low latitudes. They subsequently
freely propagate away from their source regions.
Standard theory derives the properties of freely propagating
Rossby waves from the linearized equations of motion for
large-scale, low-frequency motion about a state of rest, which
yields an equation for normal modes.
These normal modes can be found by specifying surface and bottom
boundary conditions and solving an eigenvalue problem that depends
only on the local stratification. There are an infinite number
of wave modes ordered by decreasing phase speed, which are westward
for all modes. Solutions for low frequencies and long wavelengths
are zonally nondispersive, i.e. the phase speed is independent of
The lowest mode is the barotropic mode. It is uniform vertically
and propagates across an ocean basin in about a week. The next gravest, or
first baroclinic, mode is surface intensified, depends strongly on
the stratification profile, has a velocity profile that changes sign
at the depth of the thermocline, and
takes months to cross the same basin as the first mode does in a week.
The surface height variations of this mode are mirrored as thermocline
depth variations of the opposite sign, which are also about three
orders of magnitude larger, i.e. a 5 cm surface elevation variation would
correspond to a 50 m depression in the thermocline.
See Platzman (1968), Dickinson (1978) and
- roughness height
- In atmospheric boundary layer dynamics, the height above a surface where
the wind speed reaches zero. This is used when surface irregularities
are larger than the 1 mm depth of the layer where molecular diffusion
dominates and an analogous ``turbulent'' diffusion depth is needed.
It is a constant in expressions
used to find the logarithmic velocity profiles in boundary layers,
and ranges from about a millimeter for average seas to more than
a meter for cities with tall buildings.
See Hartmann (1994).
- Acronym for Remote Ocean Wave Spectrometer, an airborne remote
sensor used to support the development and refinement of satellite
radars that measure the ocean surface.
It is an instrument
which uses the specular backscatter from a rotating near-nadir
radar to estimate the two-dimensional ocean surface wave
ROWS is implemented from aircraft flying 5-10 km above the ocean.
See Jackson (1987).
- Abbreviation for Rosensteil School and Marine and
See the RSMAS Web site.
- Abbreviation for Rapid-Sampling Vertical Profiler, a free-fall
instrument tethered on a thin fiber optic cable designed for
making repeated vertical profiles rapidly and continuously.
See Caldwell et al. (1985).
- Rumford, Count
- See Benjamin Thompson.
- Abbreviation for research vessel.
- Abbreviation for
Research Vessel Technical Enhancement Committee.