Abstract

A combined directional Stokes drift profile for swell and wind sea is presented. The profile can be used to calculate the shear under crossing seas and as such is relevant for Langmuir turbulence and Stokes-Coriolis forcing, but also for material advection. The swell is represented as either a monochromatic wave or as a Phillips spectrum, while the wind sea is represented as a Phillips spectrum. The profile is found to compare well against the full directional Stokes drift calculated from the 2D spectrum of ERA-Interim in an open-ocean location in the North Atlantic. The error compared to a Phillips-type unidirectional Stokes drift profile is markedly lower for a combined profile with a monochromatic swell Stokes profile. However, representing the swell as a Phillips-type Stokes drift profile yields even better results. The combined profile relies on integrated wave parameters readily available from wave models and can be calculated at low cost. The global Stokes drift climate is investigated using ERA-Interim reanalysis data with the intention of identifying regions dominated by crossing Stokes drift. We find that the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean probably experiences the greatest degree of crossing Stokes drift, and the entire subtropical band 20–30°S and N exhibit a significant degree of crossing Stokes drift and swell dominance over the Stokes drift.

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