Wind andWave-Driven Reynolds Stress and Velocity Shear in the Upper Ocean for Idealized MisalignedWind-Wave Conditions

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  • 1 University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
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Abstract

This study investigates the dynamics of velocity shear and Reynolds stress in the ocean surface boundary layer for idealized misaligned wind and wave fields using a large eddy simulation (LES) model based on the Craik-Leibovich equations, which captures Langmuir turbulence (LT). To focus on the role of LT, the LES experiments omit the Coriolis force, which obscures a stress-current-relation analysis. Furthermore, a vertically uniform body force is imposed so that the volume-averaged Eulerian flow does not accelerate but is steady. All simulations are first spun-up without wind-wave misalignment to reach a fully-developed stationary turbulent state. Then, a crosswind Stokes drift profile is abruptly imposed, which drives crosswind stresses and associated crosswind currents without generating volume-averaged crosswind currents. The flow evolves to a new stationary state, in which the crosswind Reynolds stress vanishes while the crosswind Eulerian shear and Stokes drift shear are still present, yielding a misalignment between Reynolds stress and Lagrangian shear (sum of Eulerian current and Stokes drift). A Reynolds stress budgets analysis reveals a balance between stress production and velocity-pressure-gradient terms (VPG) that encloses crosswind Eulerian shear, demonstrating a complex relation between shear and stress. In addition, the misalignment between Reynolds stress and Eulerian shear generates a horizontal turbulent momentum flux (due to correlations of along-wind and crosswind turbulent velocities) that can be important in producing Reynolds stress (due to correlations of horizontal and vertical turbulent velocities). Thus, details of the Reynolds stress production by Eulerian and Stokes drift shear may be critical for driving upper ocean currents and for accurate turbulence parameterizations in misaligned wind-wave conditions.

Current Affiliation: Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Corresponding author address: DongWang, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, 1 Challenger Dr, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2, Canada. E-mail: dongwang@udel.edu

Abstract

This study investigates the dynamics of velocity shear and Reynolds stress in the ocean surface boundary layer for idealized misaligned wind and wave fields using a large eddy simulation (LES) model based on the Craik-Leibovich equations, which captures Langmuir turbulence (LT). To focus on the role of LT, the LES experiments omit the Coriolis force, which obscures a stress-current-relation analysis. Furthermore, a vertically uniform body force is imposed so that the volume-averaged Eulerian flow does not accelerate but is steady. All simulations are first spun-up without wind-wave misalignment to reach a fully-developed stationary turbulent state. Then, a crosswind Stokes drift profile is abruptly imposed, which drives crosswind stresses and associated crosswind currents without generating volume-averaged crosswind currents. The flow evolves to a new stationary state, in which the crosswind Reynolds stress vanishes while the crosswind Eulerian shear and Stokes drift shear are still present, yielding a misalignment between Reynolds stress and Lagrangian shear (sum of Eulerian current and Stokes drift). A Reynolds stress budgets analysis reveals a balance between stress production and velocity-pressure-gradient terms (VPG) that encloses crosswind Eulerian shear, demonstrating a complex relation between shear and stress. In addition, the misalignment between Reynolds stress and Eulerian shear generates a horizontal turbulent momentum flux (due to correlations of along-wind and crosswind turbulent velocities) that can be important in producing Reynolds stress (due to correlations of horizontal and vertical turbulent velocities). Thus, details of the Reynolds stress production by Eulerian and Stokes drift shear may be critical for driving upper ocean currents and for accurate turbulence parameterizations in misaligned wind-wave conditions.

Current Affiliation: Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Corresponding author address: DongWang, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, 1 Challenger Dr, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2, Canada. E-mail: dongwang@udel.edu
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