14th Conference on Interaction of the Sea and Atmosphere


The contribution of wave breaking to air-sea interaction

Jessica M. Kleiss, SIO/Univ. of California, La Jolla, CA; and L. Romero and W. K. Melville

Breaking waves play an important role in air-sea interaction: enhancing momentum flux from the atmosphere to the ocean, dissipating wave energy that is then available for turbulent mixing, injecting aerosols and sea spray into the atmosphere, and entraining air in the water. A better understanding of the statistics of breaking waves is important for improving models of wind waves and air-sea fluxes and their remote sensing across the electromagnetic spectrum. Surface wave and marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) data were collected during the Gulf of Tehuantepec Experiment (GOTEX) off the Pacific coast of Southern Mexico in February 2004. A nadir-looking mega-pixel video camera, along with a scanning lidar (Airborne Terrain Mapper) on the NSF/NCAR C130 recorded digital videos of the breaking sea surface and corresponding sea surface displacement during strong (10-25m/s), steady off-shore winds over fetches from 0 to 500km. The aircraft was also equipped for in situ and dropsonde measurements of the MABL and related variables. We present observations of surface wave statistics, wave breaking and their relationship to air-sea fluxes of mass, momentum and energy.

Poster Session 4, Modeling and Prediction of Air-Sea Interaction
Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 2:30 PM-4:30 PM, Exhibit Hall A2

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