A test, using atmospheric data, of a method for estimating oceanic eddy diffusivity

Paul J. Kushner, Isaac M. Held

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


G. Holloway has proposed a simple method to estimate the effective horizontal eddy diffusivity for oceanic tracers using satellite measurements of sea-surface height variability. In this method, the diffusivity is assumed to scale as the r.m.s. eddy geostrophic streamfunction. This method should apply analogously in an atmospheric context, in which the energetic eddies are well resolved in data sets and models, and in which both the effective diffusivity and tracer fluxes can be directly calculated. We evaluate Holloway's method using lower-tropospheric daily atmospheric reanalysis data, and find that at a given height the method succesfully yields estimates of the divergent part of the atmospheric sensible heat flux, to within a fairly uniform scaling factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4213-4216
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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