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Vladimir Irisov and Alexander Voronovich

1. Introduction Breaking waves are an important feature of sea surface dynamics. Discussion of the role they play in different air–sea interaction processes can be found in review papers ( Banner and Peregrine 1993 ; Melville 1996 ) and in an introductory part of many other papers (see, e.g., Nepf et al. 1998 ), and we will not repeat it here. Substantial literature is devoted to both experimental and theoretical investigation of breaking waves. Most of the experimental data are related to

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David W. Wang and Hemantha W. Wijesekera

1. Introduction The breaking of dominant waves plays a key role in the exchange of momentum, mass, and heat in the air–sea interface ( Soloviev and Lukas 2003 ; Babanin et al. 2010 ). The breaking process limits wave growth by removing wave energy through turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation. Several investigators report that wave breaking generates large turbulent vortices ( Melville et al. 2002 ; Pizzo and Melville 2013 ), which significantly enhance mixing in the ocean boundary layer

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Alina Galchenko, Alexander V. Babanin, Dmitry Chalikov, I. R. Young, and Tai-Wen Hsu

1. Introduction Wave breaking is a frequent event observed by everyone who has ever been to a sea. It plays an important role in air–sea interaction and influences the dynamics of the upper ocean and exchanges of energy, momentum, and gases between the atmosphere and the ocean. Breaking of waves limits the height of the waves, potentially generates new waves, and transfers momentum from the wind to surface currents. Wave breaking is of great importance for maritime and coastal engineering

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Uri Itay and Dan Liberzon

1. Introduction The energy balance in the upper ocean is maintained partially due to the waves breaking. Part of the energy being transferred throughout the ocean surface is accumulated in steepening waves up to the point of breaking, followed by eventual energy dissipation and redistribution. Both the wind flow above and the water movement below are being affected by breaking waves; occurrence of breaking also leads to significantly magnified hydrodynamic loads on nearby objects ( Melville and

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Robin W. Pascal, Margaret J. Yelland, Meric A. Srokosz, Bengamin I. Moat,, Edward M. Waugh, Daniel H. Comben, Alex G. Cansdale, Mark C. Hartman, David G. H. Coles, Ping Chang Hsueh, and Timothy G. Leighton

1. Introduction There is a growing need for a better understanding of wave breaking and whitecapping in open-ocean conditions (defined here as being far from the coast and usually off the continental shelf). One of the aims of the international Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) program is to investigate the relationships between wave breaking, whitecap coverage, and air–sea exchanges, or fluxes, of CO 2 and aerosols. Three U.K. SOLAS projects involved direct measurement of these

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A. V. Babanin, T. Waseda, T. Kinoshita, and A. Toffoli

1. Introduction Wave breaking has routinely been perceived as a phenomenon hard to understand, predict, and describe. Although the limiting steepness for two-dimensional surface waves has been analytically obtained long ago (i.e., Stokes 1880 ; Michell 1893 ), this steepness of was not treated by oceanographers in any consistent way (here a is wave amplitude and k is wavenumber). Some believed it indeed to be the breaking criterion; for instance, an entire set of wave-dissipation theories

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Dmitry Chalikov and Alexander V. Babanin

1. Introduction Wave breaking is important across a great variety of geophysical, practical, and engineering applications. In the geophysical system of air–sea interactions, the breaking controls the whitecapping dissipation of surface waves and thus the wave growth (e.g., Cavaleri et al. 2007 ); negotiates the drag coefficient in the atmospheric boundary layer and therefore the momentum and energy fluxes from the wind to the waves; produces turbulence for the upper-ocean mixing (e

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Shuo Li, Alexander V. Babanin, Fangli Qiao, Dejun Dai, Shumin Jiang, and Changlong Guan

(e.g., height and steepness) and bubble production (size and amount—both related to the wave breaking). Because K CO 2 is critical to the prediction of CO 2 fluxes in the climate change context, its parameterization has been a major research topic for years. Considering that most of the relevant dynamic processes at air–sea interface can scale with the wind, K CO 2 is generally parameterized with the wind speed through a linear ( Jähne et al. 1979 ; Liss and Merlivat 1986 ), quadratic

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J. H. Lee, J. P. Monty, J. Elsnab, A. Toffoli, A. V. Babanin, and A. Alberello

1. Introduction Turbulence due to breaking waves plays an important role in air–sea interaction processes. For example, the transfer of energy and momentum over the air–sea interface and the enhancement of mixing under wave crests are both closely related to wave-induced turbulence. Also, the breaking of waves is the main energy dissipation mechanism for wind-generated waves (e.g., Babanin 2011 ; Sutherland and Melville 2015 ). The dissipation rate close to the water surface is critical

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Mark D. Fruman and Ulrich Achatz

the middle atmosphere, especially flow over topography and convection but also spontaneous emission from the adjustment of balanced flows, is reflected in the range of temporal and spatial scales involved in the breaking problem, from minutes to several hours and tens of meters to thousands of kilometers [see Fritts et al. (2006) for a review of the characteristics of gravity wave sources]. As such, both the sources of gravity waves and the momentum deposition associated with their breaking

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