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Gas Exchange and Bubble-Induced Supersaturation in a Wind-Wave Tank

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  • 1 Oceanography Department, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • | 2 CASIX, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Gas exchange and bubble-induced supersaturation were measured in a wind-wave tank using total gas saturation meters. The water in the tank was subjected to bubbling using a large number of frits at a depth of 0.6 m.

A simple linear model of bubble-mediated gas exchange implies that this should force an equilibrium supersaturation of 3%. This is confirmed by experiment, but a small additional steady-state supersaturation is also forced by warming. The total steady-state supersaturation is approached asymptotically.

When the bubblers were switched off, the total gas pressure approached a new steady state at much lower supersaturation, at a rate that depended on the state of the wind and waves in the tank. The rates of approach on the various equilibria enabled the gas flux across the surface of the bubbles or across the air–water interface to be calculated.

In addition a series of experiments was conducted where the water was subjected to bubbling in the presence of wind or wind and paddle waves: in this case gas invasion from the bubbles was balanced by gas evasion near or at the surface resulting in an equilibrium at <3% and enabling the relative strength of the invasion and evasion to be estimated.

Gas concentrations could be measured in a rapid, automated manner using simple apparatus. To derive gas fluxes, corrections for changes in water temperature and fluctuations in air pressure are necessary, and these are quantified. In addition, transient fluctuations in gas concentration at the start of bubbling periods allowed mixing within the tank to be observed.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Peter Bowyer, Oceanography Department, National University of Ireland, University Road, Galway, Ireland. Email: peter.bowyer@nuigalway.ie

Abstract

Gas exchange and bubble-induced supersaturation were measured in a wind-wave tank using total gas saturation meters. The water in the tank was subjected to bubbling using a large number of frits at a depth of 0.6 m.

A simple linear model of bubble-mediated gas exchange implies that this should force an equilibrium supersaturation of 3%. This is confirmed by experiment, but a small additional steady-state supersaturation is also forced by warming. The total steady-state supersaturation is approached asymptotically.

When the bubblers were switched off, the total gas pressure approached a new steady state at much lower supersaturation, at a rate that depended on the state of the wind and waves in the tank. The rates of approach on the various equilibria enabled the gas flux across the surface of the bubbles or across the air–water interface to be calculated.

In addition a series of experiments was conducted where the water was subjected to bubbling in the presence of wind or wind and paddle waves: in this case gas invasion from the bubbles was balanced by gas evasion near or at the surface resulting in an equilibrium at <3% and enabling the relative strength of the invasion and evasion to be estimated.

Gas concentrations could be measured in a rapid, automated manner using simple apparatus. To derive gas fluxes, corrections for changes in water temperature and fluctuations in air pressure are necessary, and these are quantified. In addition, transient fluctuations in gas concentration at the start of bubbling periods allowed mixing within the tank to be observed.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Peter Bowyer, Oceanography Department, National University of Ireland, University Road, Galway, Ireland. Email: peter.bowyer@nuigalway.ie

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