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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    In strong winds, air flow detaches from the ocean surface in the lee of wave crests and creates a low‐pressure zone on the wave’s leeward face. The pressure difference between the wave’s rear and front face modulates the momentum input from wind to waves. Numerical wave models parameterize this effect using a so‐called sheltering coefficient. However, its value and dependence on wind speed are not well understood, particularly with background swell waves. To bridge this gap, we conducted laboratory experiments with winds up to Category 4 hurricane force blown over various mechanically generated wave conditions (pure wind sea, mixed waves with directional spreading, and monochromatic unidirectional waves) and measured the wind, waves, and stress at a sufficient frequency to resolve wind‐wave variability over the long‐wave phase. We analyze the results in the context of Jeffreys’s sheltering theory and find two regimes: (a) from low‐to‐moderate wind forcing (10 m s−1 < U10 < 33 m s−1), the aerodynamic sheltering increases with wind speed, consistent with previous studies; (b) in hurricane conditions (U10 > 33 m s−1), the aerodynamic sheltering decreases with wind at a rate depending on wave state. Further, we isolate the short wind waves from the longer paddle waves and find that the aerodynamic sheltering by longer waves leads to a phase‐dependent variability of the short wind‐waves’ local steepness, which is evidenced by the sheltering coefficient’s value derived from wind and wave measurements. Our results emphasize the need for further measurements of aerodynamic sheltering and improving its representation in models.

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  3. Abstract

    Gas exchange at high wind speeds is not well understood—few studies have been conducted at wind speeds above 20 ms−1and significant disagreement exists between gas exchange models at high wind speeds. In this study, noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe) were measured in 35 experiments in the SUSTAIN wind‐wave tank where the wind speeds ranged from 20 to 50 m s−1and mechanical waves were generated as monochromatic or with a short‐crested JONSWAP frequency spectrum. Bubble size spectra were determined using shadowgraph imagery and wave statistics were measured using a wave wire array. The steady state saturation anomalies and gas fluxes initially increased as wind speeds increased but then leveled off, similar to prior studies of heat and momentum flux coefficients. Noble gas fluxes and steady state saturation anomalies are correlated most strongly with bubble volumes for the less soluble noble gases and with wind speed and wave Reynolds number for the more soluble noble gases. In the JONSWAP experiments, significant wave height was the most important predictor for gas steady state saturation anomalies with correlation coefficients of greater than 0.92 for He, Ne, and Ar (P < 0.05). Furthermore, invasion fluxes were larger than evasion fluxes when other conditions were similar. Taken together, these lab‐based experiments suggest more attention should be paid to parameterizations based on wave characteristics and bubbles and that current wind‐speed based gas exchange parameterizations should not be applied to conditions with very high wind speeds.

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  4. Abstract

    Here we have determined the nature of turbulent flow associated with oceanic nonbreaking waves, which are on average much more prevalent than breaking waves in most wind conditions. We found this flow to be characterized by a low turbulence microscale Reynolds number of30 < Reλ < 100. We observed that the turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate associated with nonbreaking wavesϵ, ranged to3 · 10−4 W/kg for a wave amplitude 50 cm. Theϵ, under nonbreaking waves, was consistent with;Sijis the large‐scale (energy‐containing scales) wave‐induced mean flow stress tensor. The turbulent Reynolds stress associated with nonbreaking waves was consistent with experimental data when parameterized by an amplitude independent constant turbulent eddy viscosity, 10 times larger than the molecular value. Given that nonbreaking waves typically cover a much larger fraction of the ocean surface (90–100%) than breaking waves, this result shows that their contribution to wave dissipation can be significant.

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  5. This study analyzes high-resolution ship data collected in the Gulf of Mexico during the Lagrangian Submesoscale Experiment (LASER) from January to February 2016 to produce the first reported measurements of dissipative heating in the explicitly nonhurricane atmospheric surface layer. Although typically computed from theory as a function of wind speed cubed, the dissipative heating directly estimated via the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate is also presented. The dissipative heating magnitude agreed with a previous study that estimated the dissipative heating in the hurricane boundary layer using in situ aircraft data. Our observations that the 10-m neutral drag coefficient parameterized using TKE dissipation rate approaches zero slope as wind increases suggests that TKE dissipation and dissipative heating are constrained to a physical limit. Both surface-layer stability and sea state were observed to be important conditions influencing dissipative heating, with the stability determined via TKE budget terms and the sea state determined via wave steepness and age using direct shipboard measurements. Momentum and enthalpy fluxes used in the TKE budget are determined using the eddy-correlation method. It is found that the TKE dissipation rate and the dissipative heating are largest in a nonneutral atmospheric surface layer with a sea surface comprising steep wind sea and slow swell waves at a given surface wind speed, whereas the ratio of dissipative heating to enthalpy fluxes is largest in near-neutral stability where the turbulent vertical velocities are near zero.

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