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The Wave-Driven Wind

D. Lee HarrisInstitute for Oceanography, ESSA, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Abstract

By photographing the movement of smoke plumes and recording the air movement at fixed points above the water in an indoor wave tank, it is shown that progressive waves in water may produce an airflow more than half a wavelength, or 14 wave amplitudes, above the water.

The significance of this finding is that it indicates that the mean wind speed should not vanish at the mean water surface as is commonly assumed, and that the vertical gradient of the horizontal wind near the surface of water covered by progressive waves should be less than the gradient near a land surface with other conditions nearly identical.

Abstract

By photographing the movement of smoke plumes and recording the air movement at fixed points above the water in an indoor wave tank, it is shown that progressive waves in water may produce an airflow more than half a wavelength, or 14 wave amplitudes, above the water.

The significance of this finding is that it indicates that the mean wind speed should not vanish at the mean water surface as is commonly assumed, and that the vertical gradient of the horizontal wind near the surface of water covered by progressive waves should be less than the gradient near a land surface with other conditions nearly identical.

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