HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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The Pacific Equatorial Countercurrent

Defense Date


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Ph.D. Oceanography/Marine Biology


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

William S. Richardson

Second Advisor

Dennis Moore

Third Advisor

Pearn P. Niiler

Fourth Advisor

Russell Snyder

Fifth Advisor

Abraham S. Fischler


A comprehensive physical and dynamical picture of the Pacific Equatorial Countercurrent is presented. This is the first known attempt; to analyze an ocean current system on the basis of the totality of hydrographic and wind stress data available.

The Equatorial Countercurrent transport is a maximum at its beginning near the western boundary and decreases nearly linearly to end with zero at the eastern boundary. Zonal geostrophic flow is substantiated. The source of the Fquatorial Countercurrent is the westward flow of the North Equatorial Current and South Equatorial Current. Sverdrup's theory of wind-driven ocean circulation is not valid for the Pacific Equatorial Countercurrent, as shown by use of recent wind-stress tables and by evaluation of the steady state equations of motion. Nonlinear acceleration terms need to be included for a solution of this system of flow.


Financial assistance was provided by the Office of Naval Research through contract N00014-67-A-0368 (001)

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