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On the Variation of the Effective Breaking Strength in Oceanic Sea States

Zappa, Christopher J.; Banner, Michael L.; Morison, Russel P.; Brumer, Sophia Eleonora

A spectral framework for quantifying the geometric/kinematic and dynamic/energetic properties of breaking ocean waves was proposed by Phillips in 1985. Phillips assumed a constant breaking strength coefficient to link the kinematic/geometric breaking crest properties to the associated excess energy and momentum fluxes from the waves to the upper ocean. However, a scale-dependent (spectral) breaking strength coefficient is needed, but is unavailable from measurements. In this paper, the feasibility of a parametric mean effective breaking strength coefficient valid for a wide range of sea states is investigated. All available ocean breaking wave datasets were analyzed and complemented with wave model behavior. Robust evidence is found supporting a single linear parameter relationship between the effective breaking strength and wave age or significant wave steepness. Envisaged applications for the effective breaking strength are described.

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Title
Journal of Physical Oceanography
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-15-0227.1

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Published Here
July 1, 2016
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