Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 66, Issue 5, pp 663–671

A Practical bi-parameter formula of gas transfer velocity depending on wave states

Original Articles


The parameter that describes the kinetics of the air-sea exchange of a poorly soluble gas is the gas transfer velocity which is often parameterized as a function of wind speed. Both theoretical and experimental studies suggest that wind waves and their breaking can significantly enhance the gas exchange at the air-sea interface. A relationship between gas transfer velocity and a turbulent Reynolds number related to wind waves and their breaking is proposed based on field observations and drag coefficient formulation. The proposed relationship can be further simplified as a function of the product of wind speed and significant wave height. It is shown that this bi-parameter formula agrees quantitatively with the wind speed based parameterizations under certain wave age conditions. The new gas transfer velocity attains its maximum under fully developed wave fields, in which it is roughly dependent on the square of wind speed. This study provides a practical approach to quantitatively determine the effect of waves on the estimation of air-sea gas fluxes with routine observational data.


Gas transfer velocity wind speed wind wave significant wave height 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physical Oceanography LaboratoryOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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