Sigma Xi Presentation: Marine boundary layers with surface wave influences: Results from turbulence simulations

Peter P. Sullivan

Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 12:00 Noon
Foothills Lab. Auditorium (FL2 1022)

Gravity waves at the top of the sea surface are visual evidence of
the coupling between the atmosphere and ocean. They play important
dynamical roles in the transfer of momentum, heat, and scalars but
how they interact with background atmospheric and oceanic turbulence
and their possible role in tropical cyclone evolution is still not
well understood. This is especially true under high winds where
waves can drive winds, break intermittently and foster Langmuir
circulations. In this presentation we show preliminary results
from large eddy simulations of the marine atmospheric boundary layer
evolving over a (prescribed) spectrum of waves in the wind speed
range [5-20] m/s. We find the mean wind profile, turbulence statistics,
and surface drag depend on the underlying wave state. Simulations
of the ocean boundary layer include Craik-Leibovich dynamics and
stochastic forcing by breaking waves. Simulations with vortex-force
show enhanced ocean mixing and thermocline cooling. To gauge the
relative impact of surface waves and strong inertial shear on ocean
mixing we perform large eddy simulations with idealized time varying
forcing representative of a hurricane.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011