Actively Breaking and Maturing Oceanic Whitecap Observations
In this study, high resolution ocean surface images are examined using digital processing to achieve high confidence spatial quantifications of actively breaking and maturing whitecaps (Scanlon and Ward, 2013). Two data sets (North West Atlantic and Pacific Oceans) were sampled and processed to achieve a maximal range of observed environmental and meteorological conditions. A total of 97,156 images were selected, processed, and segregated into 311 10-minute periods. Best fit functions were applied to the average actively breaking and maturing whitecap coverage estimates along with complimentary estimates of wind, sea temperature, thermal atmospheric stability, and satellite derived chlorophyll concentration.
Our results indicate that, after wind, chlorophyll concentration is the most influential parameter for maturing coverage, and thermal atmospheric stability is the most infuential parameter for actively breaking coverage.