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Statistics of surface divergence and their relation to air-water gas transfer velocity

Asher, William E.; Liang, Hanzhuang; Zappa, Christopher J.; Loewen, Mark R.; Mukto, Moniz A.; Litchendorf, Trina M.; Jessup, Andrew T.

Air-sea gas fluxes are generally defined in terms of the air/water concentration difference of the gas and the gas transfer velocity,kL. Because it is difficult to measure kLin the ocean, it is often parameterized using more easily measured physical properties. Surface divergence theory suggests that infrared (IR) images of the water surface, which contain information concerning the movement of water very near the air-water interface, might be used to estimatekL. Therefore, a series of experiments testing whether IR imagery could provide a convenient means for estimating the surface divergence applicable to air-sea exchange were conducted in a synthetic jet array tank embedded in a wind tunnel. Gas transfer velocities were measured as a function of wind stress and mechanically generated turbulence; laser-induced fluorescence was used to measure the concentration of carbon dioxide in the top 300 μm of the water surface; IR imagery was used to measure the spatial and temporal distribution of the aqueous skin temperature; and particle image velocimetry was used to measure turbulence at a depth of 1 cm below the air-water interface. It is shown that an estimate of the surface divergence for both wind-shear driven turbulence and mechanically generated turbulence can be derived from the surface skin temperature. The estimates derived from the IR images are compared to velocity field divergences measured by the PIV and to independent estimates of the divergence made using the laser-induced fluorescence data. Divergence is shown to scale withkLvalues measured using gaseous tracers as predicted by conceptual models for both wind-driven and mechanically generated turbulence.


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Also Published In

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
American Geophysical Union
Published Here
February 22, 2016