Vertical profiles of the wave-induced airflow above ocean surface waves

Grare, L, Lenain L, Melville WK.  2018.  Vertical profiles of the wave-induced airflow above ocean surface waves. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 48:2901-2922.

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atmospheric boundary-layer, generation, global climatology, large-eddy simulation, Oceanography, pressure-fluctuations, shear-flow, swell, turbulent-flow, water-waves, wind


An analysis of coherent measurements of winds and waves from data collected during the ONR Southern California 2013 (SoCal2013) program from R/P FLIP off the coast of Southern California in November 2013 is presented. An array of ultrasonic anemometers mounted on a telescopic mast was deployed to resolve the vertical profile of the modulation of the marine atmospheric boundary layer by the waves. Spectral analysis of the data provides the wave-induced components of the wind velocity for various wind-wave conditions. Results show that the wave-induced fluctuations depend both on the spectral wave age c(omega)/U(z) and the normalized height kz, where c is the linear phase speed of the waves with wavenumber k and U(z) is the mean wind speed measured at the height z. The dependence on the spectral wave age expresses the sensitivity of the wave-induced airflow to the critical layer where U(z) = c. Across the critical layer, there is a significant change of both the amplitude and phase of the wave-induced fluctuations. Below the critical layer, the phase remains constant while the amplitude decays exponentially depending on the normalized height. Accounting for this double dependency, the nondimensionalization of the amplitude of the wave-induced fluctuations by the surface orbital velocity akc collapses all the data measured by the array of sonic anemometers, where a is the amplitude of the waves.