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The time-and space-scale descriptive power of two-dimensional Fourier analysis is exploited to reanalyze the behavior of midlatitude variability as seen in altimetric data. These data are used to construct a purely empirical and analytical frequency-zonal wavenumber spectrum of ocean variability for periods between about 20 days and 15 yr and on spatial scales of about 200-10 000 km. The spectrum is dominated by motions along a "nondispersive" line, which is a robust feature of the data but fordoi:10.1175/2010jpo4376.1 fatcat:mlrkvzphhzc4bioufvjpjea6yy