Wave breaking in developing and mature seas

Gemmrich, Johannes; Zappa, Christopher J.; Banner, Michael L.; Morison, Russel P.

In response to the growing need for robust validation data for Phillips (1985) breaking wave spectral framework, we contribute new field results observed from R/P FLIP for the breaking crest length distributions, Λ, during two different wind-wave conditions, and breaking strength during one wind-wave condition. The first experiment in Santa Barbara Channel had developing seas and the second experiment in the central Pacific Ocean south of Hawaii had mature seas. These are among the first experiments to use dissipation rate measurements probing up into the breaking crest together with simultaneous measurements of breaking crest length distributions. We directly measured the effective breaking strength parameter to be inline image in mature seas with wave age, inline image, of 40–47. We also found that the velocity scale of the breaking dissipation rate peak decreases with increasing wave age. Further, the breaking crest length spectrum falls off slower than the inline image behavior predicted by Phillips (1985). The integrated dissipation rate was consistently higher for mature seas compared to developing seas due to higher energy and momentum fluxes from the wind.

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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