Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2004

Abstract

The effect of surface waves on air–sea momentum exchange over mature and growing seas is investigated by combining ocean wave models and a wave boundary layer model. The combined model estimates the wind stress by explicitly calculating the wave-induced stress. In the frequency range near the spectral peak, the NOAA/ NCEP surface wave model WAVEWATCH-III is used to estimate the spectra, while the spectra in the equilibrium range are determined by an analytical model. This approach allows for the estimation of the drag coefficient and the equivalent surface roughness for any surface wave fields. Numerical experiments are performed for constant winds from 10 to 45 m s−1 to investigate the effect of mature and growing seas on air–sea momentum exchange. For mature seas, the Charnock coefficient is estimated to be about 0.01 ∼ 0.02 and the drag coefficient increases as wind speed increases, both of which are within the range of previous observational data. With growing seas, results for winds less than 30 m s−1 show that the drag coefficient is larger for younger seas, which is consistent with earlier studies. For winds higher than 30 m s−1, however, results show a different trend; that is, very young waves yield less drag. This is because the wave-induced stress due to very young waves makes a small contribution to the total wind stress in very high wind conditions.

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