Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Physics of Oceans and Atmospheres

Roger M. Samelson

Ocean Circulation and Dynamics


cover Samelson, R. M., 2011. The Theory of Large-Scale Ocean Circulation. Cambridge University Press, New York, 193 pp.


"Mounting evidence that human activities are substantially modifying the Earth's climate brings a new imperative to the study of the ocean's large-scale circulation. This textbook provides a concise but comprehensive introduction to the theory of large-scale ocean circulation, as it is currently understood and established. Students and instructors will benefit from the carefully chosen chapter-by-chapter exercises. This advanced textbook is invaluable for graduate students and researchers in the fields of oceanic, atmospheric, and climate sciences and other geophysical scientists, as well as physicists and mathematicians with a quantitative interest in the planetary fluid environment."


Note on differential forms and vorticity invariants (from NCAR MCAO 2003 workshop report)
NCAR MCAO 2003 - complete workshop report
NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) Mesoscale/submesoscale white paper
Note on SWOT resolution and noise (Chelton et al., 2015)
Note on variance ratio for Parzen window
Altimeter-tracked mesoscale eddy dataset

Recent Publications

Samelson, R. M., M. G. Schlax, and D. B. Chelton, 2014. Randomness, symmetry, and scaling of mesoscale eddy lifecycles. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 44, 1012–1029, doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-13-0161.1; corrigendum doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-14-0139.1.

Chelton, D. B., P. Gaube, M. G. Schlax, J. J. Early and R. M. Samelson, 2011. The Influence of Nonlinear Mesoscale Eddies on Oceanic Chlorophyll. Science, 334, 328-332, doi: 10.1126/science.1208897.

Chelton, D. B., M. G. Schlax, and R. M. Samelson, 2011. Global observations of nonlinear mesoscale eddies. Progress in Oceanography, 91, 167-216, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2011.01.002.

Durland, T. S., D. B. Chelton, R. A. de Szoeke, and R. M. Samelson, 2011. Modification of long equatorial Rossby wave phase speeds by zonal currents. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 41, 1077-1101.

Early, J. J., R. M. Samelson, and D. B. Chelton, 2011. The evolution and propagation of quasi-geostrophic ocean eddies. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 41, 1535-1555.

Samelson, R. M., 2011. Time-dependent adjustment in a simple model of the mid-depth meridional overturning cell. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 41, 1009-1025.

Samelson, R. M., 2010. An effective-beta vector for linear planetary waves on a weak mean flow. Ocean Modelling, 32, 170-174, doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2010.01.006. Errata

Samelson, R. M., 2009. A simple dynamical model of the warm-water branch of the mid-depth meridional overturning cell. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 39, 1216-1230.


Unpublished manuscripts on the history of the potential vorticity

Samelson, R. M., 2003. Rossby, Ertel, and potential vorticity. (Also available on the GFD history page maintained by G. Vallis - thanks, Geoff!)

Samelson, R. M., 2002. Rossby, Ertel, and potential vorticity.

Samelson, R. M., 1995. A potential vorticity etymology.