Influence of natural surfactants on short wind waves in the coastal Peruvian waters

Kiefhaber, D.; Zappa, Christopher J.; Jähne, B.

Results from measurements of wave slope statistics during the R/V Meteor M91 cruise in the coastal upwelling regions off the coast of Peru are reported. Wave slope probability distributions were measured with an instrument based on the reflection of light at the water surface and a method very similar to the Cox and Munk (1954b) sun glitter technique. During the cruise, the mean square slope (mss) of the waves was found to be very variable, despite the limited range of encountered wind speeds. The Cox and Munk (1954b) parameterization for clean water is found to overestimate mss, but most measurements fall in the range spanned by their clean water and slick parameterizations. The observed variability of mss is attributed to the wave damping effect of surface films, generated by increased biological production in the upwelling zones. The small footprint and high temporal resolution of the measurement allows for tracking abrupt changes in conditions caused by the often patchy structure of the surface films.

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