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Alain Colin de Verdière and Michel Ollitrault

multiply the velocity observed at a reference level by the oceanic depth ( Fofonoff 1962 ). These two early papers indicate that determining the net mass transport has been a long-standing objective in oceanography for at least three reasons: The first is practical because the meridional transfers of mass, heat, and freshwater can all be obtained through a barotropic–baroclinic modal decomposition of the velocity field ( Bryan 1962 ; Hall and Bryden 1982 ). The second originates from Sverdrup’s (1947

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