Rossby parameter

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The Rossby parameter (or simply beta \beta) is a number used in geophysics and meteorology which arises due to the meridional variation of the Coriolis force caused by the spherical shape of the Earth. It is important in the generation of Rossby waves. The Rossby parameter \beta is given by[1][2]

\beta = \frac{\partial f}{\partial y} = \frac{1}{a} \frac{d}{d\phi}  (2 \omega sin\phi) = \frac{2\omega cos\phi}{a}

where  f is the Coriolis parameter, \phi is the latitude, \omega is the angular speed of the Earth's rotation, and a is the mean radius of the Earth. Although both involve Coriolis effects, the Rossby parameter describes the variation of the effects with latitude (hence the latitudinal derivative), and should not be confused with the Rossby number.


  1. ^ Glossary of Meteorology, American Meteorological Society.
  2. ^ Lecture Notes for Atmospheric Science Mesoscale Dynamics (MEA 713). North Carolina State University. Accessed 14 July 2007.