AbstractConcurrent wave field and turbulent flux measurements acquired during the Southern Ocean Gas Exchange (SO GasEx) and the High Wind speed Gas exchange Study (HiWinGS) projects permit evaluation of the dependence of the whitecap coverage (W) on wind speed, wave age, wave steepness, mean square slope, and wave-wind and breaking Reynolds numbers. W was determined from over 600 high frequency visible imagery recordings of 20 minutes each. Wave statistics were computed from in situ and remotely sensed data as well as from a WAVEWATCH-III® hind cast. The first ship-borne estimates of W under sustained wind speeds (U10N) of 25 m s-1 were obtained during HiWinGS. These measurements suggest that W levels off at high wind speed, not exceeding 10% when averaged over 20 minutes. Combining wind speed and wave height in the form of the wave-wind Reynolds number resulted in closely agreeing models for both datasets, individually and combined. These are also in good agreement with two previous studies. When expressing W in terms of wave field statistics only or wave age, larger scatter is observed and/or there is little agreement between SO GasEx, HiWinGS, and previously published data. The wind–speed–only parameterizations deduced from the SO GasEx and HiWinGS datasets agree closely and capture more of the observed W variability than Reynolds number parameterizations. However, these wind-speed-only models do not agree as well with previous studies than the wind-wave Reynolds numbers.
Journal of Physical Oceanography – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jul 6, 2017
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