5.2 A Laboratory Study of Sea Spray from Breaking Waves. Part II - Correlations with Wind and Wave Properties

Tuesday, 10 July 2012: 1:45 PM
Essex North (Westin Copley Place)
Christopher J. Zappa, Columbia University, Palisades, NY; and M. L. Banner, C. W. Fairall, R. P. Morison, S. Brumer, X. Yan, and W. L. Peirson

Sea spray is generated from wave breaking processes at the ocean surface, yet past efforts to model sea spray only used wind-speed based parameterizations. In fact, wave breaking and subsequent spray development is forced by turbulence and energetics at the air-sea interface. The heat and momentum exchange between the sea spray droplets and the surrounding air and water modifies the boundary layer structure on both sides of the interface. This energy exchange cannot be resolved in operational models until the sea spray production rate and droplet size distribution are parameterized more accurately with regard to wave breaking statistics. Our work in the laboratory has shown that progress can be made to develop an accurate sea spray source function parameterization through coincident observations of sea spray along with wave breaking, turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate, and turbulent fluxes. Here, we present results from a laboratory experiment in a salt water wind-wave flume at the University of New South Wales. Measurements show that the sea spray source function is dependent on the near-surface water-side turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate and in the presence of breaking waves. We compare these results to correlations dependent on either wind speed and friction velocity.
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