publication . Article . 2011

The thermal structure of an air–water interface at low wind speeds

Robert A. Handler; Geoffrey B. Smith; R. I. Leighton;
Open Access
  • Published: 30 Dec 2011 Journal: Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, volume 53, pages 233-244 (eissn: 1600-0870, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Informa UK Limited
Abstract
High-resolution infrared imagery of an air–water interface at wind speeds of 1 to 4 ms<sup>−1</sup> wasobtained. Spectral analysis of the data reveals several important features of the thermal structureof the so-called cool skin. At wind speeds for which wind waves are not generated, the interfacialboundary layer appears to be composed of buoyant plumes that are stretched by the surfaceshear as they reach the interface. The plumes appear to form overlapping laminae with ahead–tail structure which we have termed fish-scales. At higher wind speeds, gravity wavesappearing on the surface give rise to distinct signatures in the infrared imagery. The waves...
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Subjects
free text keywords: Atmospheric Science, Oceanography, Optics, business.industry, business, Mechanics, Surface layer, Planetary boundary layer, Direct numerical simulation, Materials science, Wind wave, Richardson number, Plume, Buoyancy, engineering.material, engineering, Wind speed
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