An overview of sea state conditions and air-sea fluxes during RaDyO

Zappa, Christopher J.; Banner, Michael L.; Schultz, Howard; Gemmrich, Johannes R.; Morison, Russel P.; LeBel, Deborah A.; Dickey, Tommy

Refining radiative-transfer modeling capabilities for light transmission through the sea surface requires a more detailed prescription of the sea surface roughness beyond the probability density function of the sea surface slope field. To meet this need, exciting new measurement methodologies now provide the opportunity to enhance present knowledge of sea surface roughness, especially at the microscale. In this context, two intensive field experiments using R/P Floating Instrument Platform were staged within the Office of Naval Research's Radiance in a Dynamic Ocean (RaDyO) field program in the Santa Barbara Channel and in the central Pacific Ocean south of Hawaii. As part of this program, our team gathered and analyzed a comprehensive suite of sea surface roughness measurements designed to provide optimal coverage of fundamental optical distortion processes associated with the air-sea interface. This contribution describes the ensemble of instrumentation deployed. It provides a detailed documentation of the ambient environmental conditions that prevailed during the RaDyO field experiments. It also highlights exciting new sea surface roughness measurement capabilities that underpin a number of the scientific advances resulting from the RaDyO program. For instance, a new polarimetric imaging camera highlights the complex interplay of wind and surface currents in shaping the roughness of the sea surface that suggests the traditional Cox-Munk framework is not sufficient. In addition, the breaking crest length spectral density derived from visible and infrared imagery is shown to be modulated by the development of the wavefield (wave age) and alignment of wind and surface currents at the intermediate (dominant) scale of wave breaking.

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Also Published In

Journal of Geophysical Research

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
August 2, 2012