Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 23 items for

  • Author or Editor: James Edson x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Amanda Plagge, James B. Edson, and Douglas Vandemark

Abstract

Observations of ocean–atmosphere coupling across persistent mesoscale sea surface temperature (SST) gradients are used to examine the controls of atmospheric stability, pressure gradient force, and heat flux that are considered central to oft-observed coupling between wind and SST. Moored air–sea flux measurements near the Gulf Stream are combined with QuikSCAT satellite scatterometer equivalent neutral wind (ENW) data to assess correlations between SST, air–sea fluxes, pressure, and wind perturbations at scales of 10–100 days. The net effect of ocean fronts meandering past the site enabled buoy observation of SST impacts on wind, with coupling coefficients of 0.3–0.5 similar to past studies. Wind stress–SST and ENW–SST correlation coefficients are slightly higher, and roughly 20% of the ENW perturbation is attributed to stratification impacts predicted by Monin–Obukhov (MO) similarity theory. Significantly higher correlation is observed when relating wind or stress perturbations to buoyant heat flux variation. Atmospheric pressure perturbation with SST of order 0.5 hPa °C−1 is observed, as well as high negative correlation between wind and pressure variations. Length and time scales associated with the coupling indicate that peak correlations occur at 50–70 days and 300–500 km, consistent with mesoscale meander scales. Coupling coefficient values vary significantly depending on analysis time scale and exhibit a range near to recently observed interbasin variability. This variability is attributed to the extent of oceanic length scales permitted in the analysis. Together, results affirm the central role of SST-induced turbulent heat flux in controlling pressure field adjustments and thereby the wind perturbations over SST fronts.

Full access
Douglas Vandemark, James B. Edson, and Bertrand Chapron

Abstract

Aircraft altimeter and in situ measurements are used to examine relationships between altimeter backscatter and the magnitude of near-surface wind and friction velocities. Comparison of altimeter radar cross section with wind speed is made through the modified Chelton–Wentz algorithm. Improved agreement is found after correcting 10-m winds for both surface current and atmospheric stability. An altimeter friction velocity algorithm is derived based on the wind speed model and an open-ocean drag coefficient. Close agreement between altimeter- and in situ–derived friction velocities is found. For this dataset, quality of the altimeter inversion to surface friction velocity is comparable to that for adjusted winds and clearly better than the inversion to true 10-m wind speed.

Full access
Eric D. Skyllingstad and James B. Edson

Abstract

Cold air outflow over the Gulf Stream is modeled using a cloud-resolving large-eddy simulation model with three classes of precipitation. Simulations are conducted in a quasi-Lagrangian framework using an idealized sounding and uniform geostrophic winds based on observations taken on 20 February 2007 as part of the World Climate Research Program Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) Mode Water Dynamics Experiment (CLIMODE) project. Two cases are considered, one with an increasing sea surface temperature (SST) representing the crossing of the Gulf Stream front, and a second case with constant SST.

Cloud systems develop in the model with strong convective plumes that spread into regions of stratus clouds at the top of the boundary layer. Simulated boundary layer growth is forced by a combination of evaporative cooling at the cloud top, upward radiative flux, and mechanical entrainment of the overlying warmer and drier air. Constant growth of the boundary layer acts to maintain a near-constant water vapor level in the boundary layer, promoting high latent and sensible heat fluxes. Frictional surface drag is distributed throughout the boundary layer by convection, causing increased shear at the cloud top, qualitatively agreeing with observed sounding profiles. Overall, the frontal case develops stronger precipitation and turbulence in comparison with the constant SST case. A near-uniform stratocumulus layer and stronger radiative cooling are produced in the constant SST case, whereas the frontal case generates open cumuliform clouds with reduced cloud coverage. Cloud evolution in the frontal case is similar to the transition from stratocumulus to shallow cumulus observed in the subtropics, as cumuliform clouds enhance cloud-top entrainment and evaporation of stratus clouds.

Full access
Paul A. Frederickson, Kenneth L. Davidson, and James B. Edson

Abstract

Comparisons are made between surface wind stress measurements obtained by the inertial-dissipation and direct covariance methods on a stable offshore tower and by the inertial-dissipation and bulk methods on a ship. The shipboard inertial-dissipation friction velocity measurements agreed very well with both the tower inertial-dissipation and direct covariance values, to within ±2% in the mean and with a 10% or lower rms scatter. The inertial-dissipation determinations also exhibited less scatter than the tower direct covariance measurements. A detailed error analysis indicates that shipboard inertial-dissipation wind stress values can have an accuracy of better than 15% in near-neutral conditions, as compared to an accuracy of roughly 30% for the bulk method. The accuracy of shipboard inertial-dissipation values was shown to be equal to that of direct covariance measurements from a tower. Errors in inertial-dissipation wind stress values are most likely due primarily to deviations from the assumed balance between turbulent kinetic energy production and dissipation and to errors in determining the wind speed variance spectra. Errors in direct covariance measurements are most likely due primarily to finite time averaging and to flow distortion effects, unless great care is taken to minimize or correct for flow distortion. The high accuracy of inertial-dissipation wind stress values found in this study, combined with the well-known difficulties in shipboard direct covariance measurements due to platform motion and flow distortion, demonstrate that the inertial-dissipation method is the best option at present for determining the wind stress from a ship.

Full access
Larry Mahrt, Scott Miller, Tihomir Hristov, and James Edson

Abstract

Our study analyzes measurements primarily from two Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP) field programs and from the Air–Sea Interaction Tower (ASIT) site to examine the relationship between the wind and sea surface stress for contrasting conditions. The direct relationship of the surface momentum flux to U 2 is found to be better posed than the relationship between and U, where U is the wind speed and is the friction velocity. Our datasets indicate that the stress magnitude often decreases significantly with height near the surface due to thin marine boundary layers and/or enhanced stress divergence close to the sea surface. Our study attempts to correct the surface stress estimated from traditional observational levels by using multiple observational levels near the surface and extrapolating to the surface. The effect of stability on the surface stress appears to be generally smaller than errors due to the stress divergence. Definite conclusions require more extensive measurements close to the sea surface.

Full access
Jeffrey E. Hare, Tetsu Hara, James B. Edson, and James M. Wilczak

Abstract

Previous field investigations of the wave-induced pressure field have focused on determination of the momentum input from wind to the surface waves. This is useful for the estimation of wave growth rate and, in particular, the wave growth parameter β. Due to the difficult nature of experimental study of airflow very close to the wave surface, it has been necessary to extrapolate elevated measurements of the wave-induced pressure field to the surface. This practice may be incorrect without adequate knowledge of the complex vertical structure of the pressure field. In addition, the wave-induced pressure and velocity fields are coupled to the near-surface turbulence. Hence, understanding the nature of the wave-induced flow fields is critical for modeling of the near-surface wind and wave fields.

Utilizing a simple similarity hypothesis, detailed vertical structure of the wave-induced pressure and velocity components is examined. Results of this analysis are presented using data obtained in the spring and fall of 1994 during the Risø Air–Sea Experiment program. These results demonstrate that, when compared to theory, simple extrapolation of measurements of the wave-induced pressure field from a fixed height above the surface may contribute to the uncertainty of measured growth rates. In addition, it is demonstrated that an analogous similarity relationship for the wave-induced vertical velocity field yields results that are consistent with previous laboratory studies.

Full access
Peter P. Sullivan, James B. Edson, Tihomir Hristov, and James C. McWilliams

Abstract

Winds and waves in marine boundary layers are often in an unsettled state when fast-running swell generated by distant storms propagates into local regions and modifies the overlying turbulent fields. A large-eddy simulation (LES) model with the capability to resolve a moving sinusoidal wave at its lower boundary is developed to investigate this low-wind/fast-wave regime. It is used to simulate idealized situations with wind following and opposing fast-propagating waves (swell), and stationary bumps. LES predicts momentum transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere for wind following swell, and this can greatly modify the turbulence production mechanism in the marine surface layer. In certain circumstances the generation of a low-level jet reduces the mean shear between the surface layer and the PBL top, resulting in a near collapse of turbulence in the PBL. When light winds oppose the propagating swell, turbulence levels increase over the depth of the boundary layer and the surface drag increases by a factor of 4 compared to a flat surface. The mean wind profile, turbulence variances, and vertical momentum flux are then dependent on the state of the wave field. The LES results are compared with measurements from the Coupled Boundary Layers Air–Sea Transfer (CBLAST) field campaign. A quadrant analysis of the momentum flux from CBLAST verifies a wave age dependence predicted by the LES solutions. The measured bulk drag coefficient CD then depends on wind speed and wave state. In situations with light wind following swell, CD is approximately 50% lower than values obtained from standard bulk parameterizations that have no sea state dependence. In extreme cases with light wind and persistent swell, CD < 0.

Full access
Kelly Lombardo, Eric Sinsky, Yan Jia, Michael M. Whitney, and James Edson

Abstract

Mesoscale simulations of sea breezes are sensitive to the analysis product used to initialize the simulations, primarily due to the representation of the coastline and the coastal sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the analyses. The use of spatially coarse initial conditions, relative to the horizontal resolution of the mesoscale model grid, can introduce errors in the representation of coastal SSTs, in part due to the incorrect designation of the land surface. As a result, portions of the coastal ocean are initialized with land surface temperature values and vice versa. The diurnal variation of the sea surface is typically smaller than over land on meso- and synoptic-scale time scales. Therefore, it is common practice to retain a temporally static SST in numerical simulations, causing initial SST errors to persist through the duration of the simulation. These SST errors influence horizontal coastal temperature and humidity gradients and thereby the development of the sea-breeze circulations.

The authors developed a technique to modify the initial surface conditions created from a reanalysis product [North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR)] for simulations of two sea-breeze events over the New England coast to more accurately represent the finescale structure of the coastline and the spatial representation of the coastal land surface and SST. Using this technique, the coastal SST (2-m temperature) RMSE is reduced from as much as 25°–1°C (7°–1°C), contributing to a more accurate propagation of the sea-breeze front. Techniques described in this work may be important for mesoscale simulations and forecasts of other coastal phenomena.

Full access
Alejandro Cifuentes-Lorenzen, James B. Edson, Christopher J. Zappa, and Ludovic Bariteau

Abstract

Obtaining accurate measurements of wave statistics from research vessels remains a challenge due to the platform motion. One principal correction is the removal of ship heave and Doppler effects from point measurements. Here, open-ocean wave measurements were collected using a laser altimeter, a Doppler radar microwave sensor, a radar-based system, and inertial measurement units. Multiple instruments were deployed to capture the low- and high-frequency sea surface displacements. Doppler and motion correction algorithms were applied to obtain a full 1D (0.035–1.3 ± 0.2 Hz) wave spectrum. The radar-based system combined with the laser altimeter provided the optimal low- and high-frequency combination, producing a frequency spectrum in the range from 0.035 to 1.2 Hz for cruising speeds ≤3 m s−1 with a spectral rolloff of f −4 Hz and noise floor of −20/−30 dB. While on station, the significant wave height estimates were comparable within 10%–15% among instrumentation. Discrepancies in the total energy and in the spectral shape between instruments arise when the ship is in motion. These differences can be quantified using the spectral behavior of the measurements, accounting for aliasing and Doppler corrections. The inertial sensors provided information on the amplitude of the ship’s modulation transfer function, which was estimated to be ~1.3 ± 0.2 while on station and increased while underway [2.1 at ship-over-ground (SOG) speed; 4.3 m s−1]. The correction scheme presented here is adequate for measurements collected at cruising speeds of 3 m s−1 or less. At speeds greater than 5 m s−1, the motion and Doppler corrections are not sufficient to correct the observed spectral degradation.

Full access
L. Mahrt, Edgar L Andreas, James B. Edson, Dean Vickers, Jielun Sun, and Edward G. Patton

Abstract

Summertime eddy correlation measurements from an offshore tower are analyzed to investigate the dependence of the friction velocity for stable conditions on the mean wind speed V, air–sea difference of virtual potential temperature δθ υ, and nonstationary submeso motions. The quantity δθ υ sometimes exceeds 3°C, usually because of the advection of warm air from land over cooler water at this site. Thin stable boundary layers result. Unexpectedly, does not depend systematically on the stratification δθ υ even for weak winds. For weak winds, increases systematically with increasing submeso variations of the wind. The relationship for a given V is greater in nonstationary conditions. Additionally, this study examines as a function of wind direction. The relationship appears to be affected by swell direction for weak winds and advection from land for short fetches.

Full access