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The Statistical Theory of Breaking Entrainment Depth and Surface Whitecap Coverage of Real Sea Waves

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  • 1 First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Qingdao, Shandong, China
  • | 2 South China Sea Environmental Institute, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang, Guangdong, China
  • | 3 First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Qingdao, Shandong, China
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Abstract

Some basic statistics for wave breaking have been derived based on the statistical model of real sea waves. The analytic expressions of breaking entrainment depth and surface whitecap coverage involved with both sea wave characteristics and surface wind velocity have been derived on the basis of the whitecap formation model. The concept of the upper envelope for all the whitecap coverage data versus wind speed has been proposed, and it is assumed to correspond to the whitecap coverage in the case of the infinite wind duration and fetch to determine the model constants. The analytic expressions of breaking entrainment depth and whitecap coverage have been compared with the observations in several ways, and consistently favorable agreement can be found for most observations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Lei Han, First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Qingdao, Shandong, China. Email: hanlei@fio.org.cn

Abstract

Some basic statistics for wave breaking have been derived based on the statistical model of real sea waves. The analytic expressions of breaking entrainment depth and surface whitecap coverage involved with both sea wave characteristics and surface wind velocity have been derived on the basis of the whitecap formation model. The concept of the upper envelope for all the whitecap coverage data versus wind speed has been proposed, and it is assumed to correspond to the whitecap coverage in the case of the infinite wind duration and fetch to determine the model constants. The analytic expressions of breaking entrainment depth and whitecap coverage have been compared with the observations in several ways, and consistently favorable agreement can be found for most observations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Lei Han, First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Qingdao, Shandong, China. Email: hanlei@fio.org.cn

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