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M. J. Yelland, B. I. Moat, R. W. Pascal, and D. I. Berry


Wind velocity and air–sea turbulent flux measurements made from shipborne instruments are biased due to the effect of the ship on the flow of air to the instruments. The presence of the ship causes the airflow to a particular instrument site to be either accelerated or decelerated, displaced vertically, and sometimes deflected slightly in the horizontal. Although recognized for some time, it is only recently that the problem has been addressed using three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to simulate the flow over particular ships, quantify the effects of flow distortion, and hence correct the ship-based measurements. It has previously been shown that this improves the calculated momentum fluxes by removing disparities between data from different ships, or from instruments in different locations on the same ship.

This paper provides validation of the CFD model simulations. Two research ships were instrumented with multiple anemometers located in both well-exposed and badly exposed sites. Data are compared to the results of model simulations of the flow at various relative wind directions and wind speeds. Except when the anemometers are in the wake of an upwind obstruction, the model and the in situ wind speed estimates typically agree to within 2%.

Direct validation of the model-derived estimates of the vertical displacement of the flow was not possible due to the extreme difficulty of obtaining such measurements in the field. In this study, simulations of flows at 0° and 90° from the bow of the ship were made and displacements of about 1 and 5 m were found, respectively. These results were used to correct the in situ momentum flux data. In one case, the application of the different bow-on and beam-on corrections for vertical displacement successfully removed the disparity seen in the uncorrected data. In a second case, the beam-on vertical displacement overcorrected the flux results. This overcorrection could be caused either by uncertainties in the in situ estimate of the relative wind direction or by partial adjustment of the turbulence during the vertical displacement.

The effects of flow distortion are found to vary only slightly with wind speed, but are very sensitive to the relative wind direction and, if uncorrected, can cause large biases in ship-based meteorological measurements (up to 60% for the drag coefficient). Model results are given for bow-on flows over 11 research ships (American, British, Canadian, French, and German).

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Peter Wadhams, Vernon A. Squire, J. A. Ewing, and R. W. Pascal


During the MIZEX-84 experiment in the Greenland Sea in June–July 1984, a cooperative program was carried out between the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) and the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences (IOS) to measure the change in the directional character of the ocean wave spectrum in the immediate vicinity of the ice edge. The aim was to extend one-dimensional spectral measurements made hitherto so as to study in full the processes of reflection and refraction Directional spectrum analysis of these records shows that (i) significant reflection of wave energy occurs at the ice edge (detected using Long-Hasselmann analysis); (ii) within the ice the directional spectrum at high frequencies, where attenuation is rapid, broadens to become almost isotropic; whereas (iii) the directional spectrum at swell frequencies, where the attenuation is slower, becomes initially narrower before broadening more slowly than the high frequency energy. An explanation of these effects is offered in terms of scattering theory, which also gives a good fit to the observed rates of attenuation within the ice.

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M. J. Yelland, B. I. Moat, P. K. Taylor, R. W. Pascal, J. Hutchings, and V. C. Cornell


A large dataset of wind stress estimates, covering a wide range of wind speed and stability conditions, was obtained during three cruises of the RRS Discovery in the Southern Ocean. These data were used by Yelland and Taylor to determine the relationship between 10-m height, neutral stability values for the drag coefficient, and the wind speed, and to devise a new formulation for the nondimensional dissipation function under diabatic conditions. These results have been reevaluated allowing for the airflow distortion caused by the ship. The acceleration and vertical displacement of the flow have been modeled in three dimensions using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The CFD modeling was tested, first by comparison with wind tunnel measurements on models of two Canadian research ships and second, by analysis of data from four anemometers on the foremast of the RRS Charles Darwin. Originally, the four anemometers gave drag coefficient values that differed by up to 20% from one to another and were all unexpectedly high. The CFD results showed that the airflow had been decelerated by 4%–14% and displaced vertically by about 1 m. These effects caused the original drag coefficient results to be overestimated by up to 60%. After correcting for flow distortion effects, the results from the different anemometers became consistent, which gave confidence in the quantitative CFD-derived corrections.

The CFD modeling showed that the anemometer position on the RRS Discovery was much less affected by airflow distortion. For a given wind speed the CFD corrections reduced the drag coefficient by about 6%. The resulting mean drag coefficient to wind speed relationship confirmed that suggested by Smith from a more limited set of open ocean data.

The effects of flow distortion are sensitive to changes in the relative wind direction. It is shown that much of the scatter in drag coefficient estimates may be due to variations in airflow distortion rather than to the effect of changing sea states. The Discovery wind stress data is examined for evidence of a sea-state dependence: none is found. It is concluded that a wave-age-dependent wind stress formulation is not applicable to open ocean conditions.

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