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An Introduction to Wavelet Analysis in Oceanography and Meteorology: With Application to the Dispersion of Yanai Waves

S. D. MeyersMesoscale Air-Sea Interaction Group, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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B. G. KellyMesoscale Air-Sea Interaction Group, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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J. J. O'BrienMesoscale Air-Sea Interaction Group, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Abstract

Wavelet analysis is a relatively new technique that is an important addition to standard signal analysis methods. Unlike Fourier analysis that yields an average amplitude and phase for each harmonic in a dataset, the wavelet transform produces an “instantaneous” estimate or local value for the amplitude and phase of each harmonic. This allows detailed study of nonstationary spatial or time-dependent signal characteristics.

The wavelet transform is discussed, examples are given, and some methods for preprocessing data for wavelet analysis are compared. By studying the dispersion of Yanai waves in a reduced gravity equatorial model, the usefulness of the transform is demonstrated. The group velocity is measured directly over a finite range of wavenumbers by examining the time evolution of the transform. The results agree well with linear theory at higher wavenumber but the measured group velocity is reduced at lower wavenumber, possibly due to interaction with the basin boundaries.

Abstract

Wavelet analysis is a relatively new technique that is an important addition to standard signal analysis methods. Unlike Fourier analysis that yields an average amplitude and phase for each harmonic in a dataset, the wavelet transform produces an “instantaneous” estimate or local value for the amplitude and phase of each harmonic. This allows detailed study of nonstationary spatial or time-dependent signal characteristics.

The wavelet transform is discussed, examples are given, and some methods for preprocessing data for wavelet analysis are compared. By studying the dispersion of Yanai waves in a reduced gravity equatorial model, the usefulness of the transform is demonstrated. The group velocity is measured directly over a finite range of wavenumbers by examining the time evolution of the transform. The results agree well with linear theory at higher wavenumber but the measured group velocity is reduced at lower wavenumber, possibly due to interaction with the basin boundaries.

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