On the Energy Input from Wind to Surface Waves

J. R. Gemmrich University of Victoria, Victoria, and Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada

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T. D. Mudge University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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V. D. Polonichko University of Victoria, Victoria, and Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada

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Abstract

A basic model relating the energy dissipation in the ocean mixed layer to the energy input into the surface wave field is combined with recent measurements of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation to determine the average phase speed of the waves acquiring energy from the wind. This phase speed and the square root of the corresponding wavelength are proportional to the vertically integrated dissipation. The calculations show that the maximum energy input occurs at the high-frequency end of the wave spectrum. Dissipation data from other investigators are used to estimate the effective phase speed between 0.55 and 0.72 m s−1 and corresponding wavelengths varying between 0.2 and 0.33 m for the waves receiving most of the energy.

Abstract

A basic model relating the energy dissipation in the ocean mixed layer to the energy input into the surface wave field is combined with recent measurements of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation to determine the average phase speed of the waves acquiring energy from the wind. This phase speed and the square root of the corresponding wavelength are proportional to the vertically integrated dissipation. The calculations show that the maximum energy input occurs at the high-frequency end of the wave spectrum. Dissipation data from other investigators are used to estimate the effective phase speed between 0.55 and 0.72 m s−1 and corresponding wavelengths varying between 0.2 and 0.33 m for the waves receiving most of the energy.

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