Beta spiral method

June 12, 2012, 10:11 am

The Beta spiral method is an inverse process for determining the oceanic velocity field, where the motion is geostrophic and the potential vorticity locally balanced. This method provides a mechanism for determining the absolute geostrophic circulation field rather than merely the relative field.

This article is written at a definitional level only. Authors wishing to expand this entry are inivited to expand the present treatment, which additions will be peer reviewed prior to publication of any expansion.

Further Reading

  • G.Bigg. The beta spiral method Deep Sea Research Part A. Oceanographic Research Papers, vol. 32, issue 4, pp. 465-484
  • F. A. Schott and H. Stommel. Beta spirals and absolute velocities from different oceans. Deep Sea Res., 25: 961–1010, 1978.




Baum, S. (2012). Beta spiral method. Retrieved from


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