University Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Member of the National Academy of Sciences

Burt 440
Website: Dudley Chelton Photography

Research Interests

Mesoscale oceanic eddies; large-scale, low-frequency variability of ocean circulation; coupled ocean-atmosphere variability; satellite microwave radar remote sensing; development of techniques for improving and quantifying signal-to-noise ratio in oceanographic measurements.

Current Research

Investigation of large-scale geophysical wave dynamics, air-sea interaction, wind-forced ocean circulation and mesoscale variability from satellite radar scatterometer measurements of wind stress, altimeter measurements of sea surface height and passive microwave radiometer measurements of sea surface temperature.


BA, University of Colorado (Physics), 1974
PhD, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Oceanography), 1980


(Selected publications since 1996)

Global observations of oceanic Rossby waves. Science, 272, 234-238, 1996. (Chelton, D.B., and M.G. Schlax.)

The speed of observed and theoretical long extra tropical planetary waves. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 27, 1946-1966, 1997. (Killsworth P.D., D.B. Chelton, and R.A. deSzoeke.)

Geographical variability of the first baroclinic Rossby radius of deformation. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 28, 433-460, 1998. (Chelton, D.B., R.A. deSzoeke, M.G. Schlax, K. El Nagger and N. Siwertz.)

Satellite microwave SST observations of transequatorial tropical instability waves. Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 1239-1242, 2000. (Chelton, D. B., F. J. Wentz, C. L. Gentemann, R. A. de Szoeke and M. G. Schlax.)

Satellite observations of the wind jets off the Pacific coast of Central America, Part I: Case studies and statistical characteristics. Mon. Wea. Rev., 128, 1993-2018, 2000. (Chelton, D. B., M. H. Freilich and S. K. Esbensen.)

Satellite observations of the wind jets off the Pacific coast of Central America, Part II: Regional relationships and dynamical considerations. Mon. Wea. Rev., 128, 2019-2043, 2000. (Chelton, D. B., M. H. Freilich and S. K. Esbensen.)

Observations of coupling between surface wind stress and sea surface temperature in the eastern Tropical Pacific. J. Climate, 14, 1479-1498, 2001. (Chelton, D. B., S. K. Esbensen, M. G. Schlax, N. Thum, M. H. Freilich, F. J. Wentz, C. L. Gentemann, M. J. McPhaden and P. S. Schopf.)

Sampling errors in wind fields constructed from single and tandem scatterometer datasets. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech., 18, 1014-1036, 2001. (Schlax, M. G., D. B. Chelton and M. H. Freilich.)

Equatorially trapped Rossby waves in the presence of meridionally sheared baroclinic flow in the Pacific Ocean. Prog. Oceanogr., 56, 323-380, 2003. (Chelton, D. B., M. G. Schlax, J. M. Lyman, and G. C. Johnson.)

Observations of SST-induced perturbations of the wind stress field over the Southern Ocean on seasonal time scales. J. Climate, 16, 2340-2354, 2003. (O'Neill, L. W., D. B. Chelton and S. K. Esbensen.)

The accuracies of smoothed sea surface height fields constructed from tandem altimeter datasets. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 20, 1276-1302, 2003. (Chelton, D. B., and M. G. Schlax.)

The accuracies of crossover and parallel-track estimates of geostrophic velocities from TOPEX/POSEIDON and Jason altimeter data. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 20, 1196-1211, 2003. (Schlax, M. G., and D. B. Chelton.)

Satellite measurements reveal persistent small-scale features in ocean winds. Science, 303, 978-983, 2004. (Chelton, D. B., M. G. Schlax, M. H. Freilich and R. F. Milliff)

Scatterometer-based assessment of 10-m wind analyses from the operational ECMWF and NCEP numerical weather prediction models. Mon Wea. Rev., 133, 409-429, 2005 (Chelton, D. B., and M. H. Freilich)

The impact of SST specification on ECMWF surface wind stress fields in the eastern tropical Pacific. J. Climate, 18, 530-550, 2005. (Chelton, D. B.)

Tropical instability waves as a resonance between equatorial Rossby waves. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 35, 232-254, 2005. (Lyman, J. M., D. B. Chelton, R. A. de Szoeke and R. M. Samelson)

The effects of wind forcing and background mean currents on the latitudinal structure of equatorial Rossby waves. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2005, 35, 666-682. (Perez, R. C., D. B. Chelton and R. N. Miller)

High-resolution satellite observations of SST modification of the marine atmospheric boundary layer over the Agulhas Return Current. J. Climate, 2005, 18, 2706-2723. (O'Neill, L. W., D. B. Chelton, S. K. Esbensen and F. J. Wentz)

Global high-resolution satellite observations of sea-surface temperature for numerical weather prediction and climate research. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 2005, 86, 1097-1115. (Chelton, D. B., and F. J. Wentz)

On the coupling of wind stress and sea surface temperature. J. Climate, 2006, 19, 1557-1566. (Samelson, R. M., E. D. Skyllingstad, D. B. Chelton, S. K. Esbensen, L. W. O'Neill, and N. Thum)

An assessment of the sea surface temperature influence on surface wind stress in numerical weather prediction and climate models. J. Climate, 2006, 19, 2743-2762. (Maloney, E. D., and D. B. Chelton)

On the use of QuikSCAT scatterometer measurements of surface winds for marine weather prediction. Mon. Wea. Rev., 2006, 134, 2055-2071. (Chelton, D. B., M. H. Freilich, J. M. Sienkiewicz, and J. M. Von Ahn)

A satellite-derived climatology of global ocean winds. Rem. Sens. Environ., 2006, 104, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2006.06.017. (Risien, C. M., and D. B. Chelton)

Summertime coupling between sea surface temperature and wind stress in the California Current System. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2007, 37, 495-517. (Chelton, D. B., M. G. Schlax, and R. M. Samelson)

Global observations of large ocean eddies. Geophys. Res. Lett., 2007, 34, L15606, doi:10.1029/2007GL030812. (Chelton, D. B., M. G. Schlax, R. M. Samelson and R. A. de Szoeke)

Daily High-Resolution-Blended Analyses for Sea Surface Temperature. J. Climate, 2007, 20, 5473-5496. (Reynolds, R. W., T. M. Smith, C. Liu, D. B. Chelton, K. S. Smith, and M. G. Schlax)

Summertime Influence of SST on Surface Wind Stress off the U.S. West Coast from the U.S. Navy COAMPS Model. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2008, 38, 2414-2437. (Haack, T., D. Chelton, J. Pullen, J. Doyle, and M. Schlax)

A Global climatology of wind stress and wind stress derivative fields from 7 years of QuikSCAT scatterometer data. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2008, 38, 2379-2413. (Risien, C. M., and D. B. Chelton)

The influence of mesoscale eddies on the detection of quasi-zonal jets in the ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett., 2008, 35, L24602, doi:10.1029/2008GL035998. (Schlax, M. G., and D. B. Chelton)

Coupling between sea-surface temperature and and low-level winds in mesoscale numerical models. J. Climate, 2009, 22, 146-164. (Song, Q., D. B. Chelton, S. K. Esbensen, N. Thum, and L. W. O'Neill)

Frontal scale air-sea interaction in high-resolution coupled climate models. J. Climate, 2010, 23, 6277-6291. (Bryan, F., R. Thomas, J. Dennis, D. B. Chelton, N. G. Loeb, and J. L. McClean)

Coupled ocean-atmosphere interaction at oceanic mesoscales. Oceanography Magazine, 2010, 23, 52-69. (Chelton, D. B., and S.-P. Xie)

Eddy dynamics from satellite altimetry: progress and challenges. Oceanography Magazine, 2010, 23, 14-25. (Fu, L.-L., D. B. Chelton, P.-Y. Le Traon, and R. Morrow)

Global observations of nonlinear mesoscale eddies. Prog. Oceanogr., 2011, 91, 167-216. (Chelton, D. B., M. G. Schlax, and R. M. Samelson)

The evolution and propagation of quasigeostrophic ocean eddies. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2011, 41, 1535-1555. (Early, J. J., R. M. Samelson, and D. B. Chelton)

The influence of nonlinear mesoscale eddies on near-surface chlorophyll. Science, 2011, 334, 328-332. (Chelton, D. B., P. Gaube, M. G. Schlax, J. J. Early, and R. M. Samelson)

Covariability of surface wind and stress responses to sea-surface temperature fronts. J. Climate, 2012, 25, 5916-5942. (O'Neill, L. W., D. B. Chelton and S. K. Esbensen)

Objective determination of feature resolution in two sea surface temperature analyses. J. Climate, 2013, 26, 2514-2533. (Reynolds, R. W., D. B. Chelton, J. Roberts-Jones, M. J. Martin, D. Menemenlis and C. J. Merchant)

Satellite observations of chlorophyll, phytoplankton biomass and Ekman pumping in nonlinear mesoscale eddies. J. Geophys. Res., 2013, 118, 6349-6370. (Gaube, P., D. B. Chelton, P. G. Strutton and M. J. Behrenfeld)

Randomness, symmetry and scaling of mesoscale eddy life cycles. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2014, 44, 1012-1029. (Samelson, R. M., M. G. Schlax and D. B. Chelton)

Modeling the atmospheric boundary layer wind response to mesoscale sea surface temperature. Mon. Wea. Rev., 2014, 142, 4284-4307. (Perlin, N., S. P. de Szoeke, D. B. Chelton, R. M. Samelson, E. D. Skyllingstad and L. W. O'Neill)

Regional variations in the influence of mesoscale ocean eddies on near-surface chlorophyll. J. Geophys. Res., 2014, 119, 8195-8220.(Gaube, P., D. J. McGillicuddy, D. B. Chelton, M. J. Behrenfeld and P. G. Strutton)

Satellite observations of mesoscale eddy-induced Ekman pumping. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2015, 45, 104-132. (Gaube, P., D. B. Chelton, R. M. Samelson, M. G. Schlax and L. W. O'Neill)

Prospects for future satellite estimation of small-scale variability of ocean surface velocity and vorticity. Progr. Oceanogr., 2019, 173, 256-350. (Chelton, D. B., M. G. Schlax, R. M. Samelson, J. T. Farrar, M. J. Molemaker, J. C. McWilliams, and J. Gula)

A hybrid precipitation index inspired by the SPI, PDSI and MCDI. Part I: Development of the index. J. Hydrometeorol., 2020, 21, 1945-1976. (Chelton, D. B., and C. M. Risien)

A hybrid precipitation index inspired by the SPI, PDSI and MCDI. Part II: Application to investigate precipitation variability along the west coast of North America. J. Hydrometeorol., 2020, 21, 1977-2002. (Chelton, D. B., and C. M. Risien)

The effects of uncorrelated measurement noise on SWOT estimates of sea-surface height, velocity and vorticity. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 2022, 39, 1053-1083. (Chelton, D. B., R. M. Samelson and J. T. Farrar)

The spectral color of natural and anthropogenic time series and its impact on the statistical significance of cross correlation. Sci. Total Environ., 860, 160219. (Nunez-Riboni, I., D. B. Chelton and V. Marconi)

Estimation of surface current divergence from satellite Doppler radar scatterometer measurements of surface ocean velocity. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 2022, 40, 1171-1198. (Chelton, D. B.)