Spectral Signature Wave Breaking in Surface Wave Components of Intermediate-Length Scale
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB STENNIS SPACE CENTER MS
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This paper investigates the length scale of ocean surface breaking waves in the spectral range of intermediate wavelength components a few centimeters to a few meters long. The spectral properties of wave breaking are examined first with the dissipation function of the wave action density conservation equation. The analysis reveals a strong breaking signature in wave components between 0.15 and 1.5 m long in the form of a quasi-singular behavior of the dissipation function using the present formulation of the wind-generation and breaking dissipation functions. Independent studies of more-direct breaking observations of radar tracking of sea spikes in the past have shown close correlation between sea spiked and scatterers traveling at the speed of surface waves a few meters long and much shorter than the dominant wavelength. The intermediate-scale waves are the primary contributor of the ocean surface mean-square slope. the close correlation between the gas transfer rate and the mean-square slope has been demonstrated repeatedly. A better understanding of the wave dynamics of intermediate-scale waves is important for clarification of various gas transfer mechanisms.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography
- Radiofrequency Wave Propagation