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Takuji Waseda, Takeshi Kinoshita, and Hitoshi Tamura

Abstract

Recent experimental study of the evolution of random directional gravity waves in deep water provides new insight into the nature of the spectral evolution of the ocean waves and the relative significance of resonant and quasi-resonant wave interaction. When the directional angle containing half the total energy is broader than ∼20°, the spectrum evolves following the energy transfer that can be described by the four-wave resonant interaction alone. In contrast, in the case of a directionally confined spectrum, the effect of quasi-resonant wave–wave interaction becomes important, and the wave system becomes unstable. When the temporal change of the spectral shape due to quasi resonance becomes irreversible owing to energetic breaking dissipation, the spectrum rapidly downshifts. Under such extreme conditions, the likelihood of a freak wave is high.

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Takuji Waseda, Takeshi Kinoshita, and Hitoshi Tamura

Abstract

The evolution of a random directional wave in deep water was studied in a laboratory wave tank (50 m long, 10 m wide, 5 m deep) utilizing a directional wave generator. A number of experiments were conducted, changing the various spectral parameters (wave steepness 0.05 < ε < 0.11, with directional spreading up to 36° and frequency bandwidth 0.2 < δk/k < 0.6). The wave evolution was studied by an array of wave wires distributed down the tank. As the spectral parameters were altered, the wave height statistics change. Without any wave directionality, the occurrence of waves exceeding twice the significant wave height (the freak wave) increases as the frequency bandwidth narrows and steepness increases, due to quasi-resonant wave–wave interaction. However, the probability of an extreme wave rapidly reduces as the directional bandwidth broadens. The effective Benjamin–Feir index (BFIeff) is introduced, extending the BFI (the relative magnitude of nonlinearity and dispersion) to incorporate the effect of directionality, and successfully parameterizes the observed occurrence of freak waves in the tank. Analysis of the high-resolution hindcast wave field of the northwest Pacific reveals that such a directionally confined wind sea with high extreme wave probability is rare and corresponds mostly to a swell–wind sea mixed condition. Therefore, extreme wave occurrence in the sea as a result of quasi-resonant wave–wave interaction is a rare event that occurs only when the wind sea directionality is extremely narrow.

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Humio Mitsudera, Bunmei Taguchi, Takuji Waseda, and Yasushi Yoshikawa

Abstract

This paper discusses the role of the Izu Ridge in blocking the Kuroshio large meander from propagating eastward across the ridge. It is shown that a combination of the sloping bottom with baroclinicity in the Kuroshio flow is important for blocking of the large meander. It produces a cyclonic torque over the western slope of the ridge when the large meander impinges upon it. That is, the cyclonic torque is formed ahead of the large meander, which results in blocking and amplification of the meander upstream of the Izu Ridge. The baroclinicity of the Kuroshio over the ridge is caused by baroclinic topographic Rossby waves generated when the large meander encounters the ridge.

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Hitoshi Tamura, Takuji Waseda, Yasumasa Miyazawa, and Kosei Komatsu

Abstract

Numerical simulations were performed to investigate current-induced modulation of the spectral and statistical properties of ocean waves advected by idealized and realistic current fields. In particular, the role of nonlinear energy transfer among waves in wave–current interactions is examined. In this type of numerical simulation, it is critical to treat the nonlinear transfer function (Snl) properly, because a rigorous Snl algorithm incurs a huge computational cost. However, the applicability of the widely used discrete interaction approximation (DIA) method is strictly limited for complex wave fields. Therefore, the simplified RIAM (SRIAM) method is implemented in an operational third-generation wave model. The method approximates an infinite resonant quadruplet with 20 optimized resonance configurations. The performance of the model is assessed by applying it to fetch-limited wave growth and wave propagation against a shear current. Numerical simulations using the idealized current field revealed that the Snl retained spectral form by redistributing the refracted wave energy; this suggests that energy concentration due to ray focusing is dispersed via the self-stabilization effect of nonlinear transfer. A hindcast simulation using wind and current reanalysis data indicated that the difference in the average monthly wave height was substantial and that instantaneous wave–current interactions were highly sensitive to small current structures. Spectral shape was also modulated, and the spatial distributions of the directional bandwidth with or without current data were completely different. Moreover, the self-stabilization effect of the Snl was also confirmed in a realistic situation. These results indicate that a realistic representation of the current field is crucial for high-resolution wave forecasting.

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Humio Mitsudera, Bunmei Taguchi, Yasushi Yoshikawa, Hirohiko Nakamura, Takuji Waseda, and Tangdong Qu

Abstract

In this paper, results of a high-resolution regional model of the Kuroshio–Oyashio confluence, where the mixed water region (MWR) forms off the northeastern coast of Japan, are discussed. The model simulates major characteristics of the Kuroshio and the Oyashio system well, such as the separation of the Kuroshio Extension from the Japanese coast and southward intrusion of the Oyashio. Further, potential temperature and salinity structures in the intermediate layer σ θ = 27.0 resemble those obtained from historical data. Upon the success of this simulation, the authors focus on the diagnosis of the Oyashio water pathways intruding into the subtropics. It is found that the pathways of the Oyashio water form in the vicinity of the Japanese coast, where warm core rings and the Oyashio intrusion are active. These pathways are shown to be primarily eddy driven. Of particular interest is the water that originates in the Sea of Okhotsk, characterized by low potential vorticity (PV). Impacts of the Okhotsk water are identified by conducting an experiment in which the exchange of waters between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk is blocked. The impacts are striking. If the exchange were blocked, the pathways would not form in the MWR. Instead, a strong cyclonic recirculation, caused by separation of the Kuroshio from the Japanese coast, dominates the MWR and advects warm and salty Kuroshio water northwestward, letting it occupy the entire MWR. It is found that the low-PV flux from the subpolar region tends to reduce the cyclonic circulation in the MWR. As a result, a southward intrusion of the Oyashio is induced. Concurrently, this intrusion blocks the northward advection of the Kuroshio water, maintaining the Oyashio water pathways in the MWR.

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Henrique Rapizo, Takuji Waseda, Alexander V. Babanin, and Alessandro Toffoli

Abstract

Laboratory experiments were performed to investigate the effects of a coflowing current field on the spectral shape of water waves. The results indicate that refraction is the main factor in modulating wave height and overall wave energy. Although the structure of the current field varies considerably, some current-induced patterns in the wave spectrum are observed. In high frequencies, the energy cascading generated by nonlinear interactions is suppressed, and the development of a spectral tail is disturbed, as a consequence of the detuning of the four-wave resonance conditions. Furthermore, the presence of currents slows the downshifting of the spectral peak. The suppression of the high-frequency energy under the influence of currents is more prominent as the spectral steepness increases. The energy suppression is also more accentuated and long-standing along the fetch when the directional spreading of waves is sufficiently broad. This result indicates that the current-induced detuning of resonant conditions is more effective when exact resonances are the primary mechanism of nonlinear interactions than when quasi resonances prevail (directionally narrow cases). Additionally, the directional analysis shows that the highly variable currents broaden the directional spreading of waves. The broadening is suggested to be related to random refraction and scattering of wave rays. The random disturbance of wavenumbers alters the nonlinear interaction conditions and weakens the energy exchanges among wave components, which is expressed in the suppression of the high-frequency energy.

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