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The impact of the surface wave field (sea state) on the wind stress over the ocean is investigated with fetch-dependent seas under uniform wind and with complex seas under idealized tropical cyclone winds. Two different approaches are employed to calculate the wind stress and the mean wind profile. The near-peak frequency range of the surface wave field is simulated using the WAVEWATCH III model. The high-frequency part of the surface wave field is empirically determined using a range of different tail levels. The results suggest that the drag coefficient magnitude is very sensitive to the spectral tail level but is not as sensitive to the drag coefficient calculation methods. The drag coefficients at 40 m/s vary from to depending on the saturation level. The misalignment angle between the wind stress vector and the wind vector is sensitive to the stress calculation method used. In particular, if the cross-wind swell is allowed to contribute to the wind stress, it tends to increase the misalignment angle. Our results predict enhanced sea state dependence of the drag coefficient for a fast moving tropical cyclone than for a slow moving storm or for simple fetch-dependent seas. This may be attributed to swell that is significantly misaligned with local wind.

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