Wave-Induced Mass Transport in the Oceanic Surface Layer

Jan Erik Weber Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

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Abstract

The mean mass transport induced by surface gravity waves is investigated theoretically for a deep, rotating ocean with a constant eddy viscosity. The waves are periodic in time and have amplitudes that grow or decay slowly in space. The analysis is based on a Lagrangian description of motion, and the results are valid to second order in the wave steepness. An equation for the wave-induced mean Lagrangian mass transport in the oceanic surface layer is derived. It is demonstrated that there are two sources for the mean mass transport: (i) the form drag associated with the fluctuating wind stress normal to the wave slope and (ii) the horizontal divergence of the mean wave momentum flux. Using a spectral formulation for the wave amplitude, applications related to general ocean circulation models are discussed.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jan Erik Weber, Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1022, Blindern, N-0315 Oslo, Norway. Email: j.e.weber@geo.uio.no

Abstract

The mean mass transport induced by surface gravity waves is investigated theoretically for a deep, rotating ocean with a constant eddy viscosity. The waves are periodic in time and have amplitudes that grow or decay slowly in space. The analysis is based on a Lagrangian description of motion, and the results are valid to second order in the wave steepness. An equation for the wave-induced mean Lagrangian mass transport in the oceanic surface layer is derived. It is demonstrated that there are two sources for the mean mass transport: (i) the form drag associated with the fluctuating wind stress normal to the wave slope and (ii) the horizontal divergence of the mean wave momentum flux. Using a spectral formulation for the wave amplitude, applications related to general ocean circulation models are discussed.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jan Erik Weber, Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1022, Blindern, N-0315 Oslo, Norway. Email: j.e.weber@geo.uio.no

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