Acta Oceanologica Sinica

, Volume 32, Issue 11, pp 10–20

Rainfall effect on wind waves and the turbulence beneath air-sea interface


DOI: 10.1007/s13131-013-0372-7

Cite this article as:
Zhao, D., Ma, X., Liu, B. et al. Acta Oceanol. Sin. (2013) 32: 10. doi:10.1007/s13131-013-0372-7


Rainfall effects on wind waves and turbulence are investigated through the laboratory experiments in a large wind-wave tank. It is found that the wind waves are damped as a whole at low wind speeds, but are enhanced at high wind speeds. This dual effect of rain on the wind waves increases with the increase of rain rate, while the influence of rainfall-area length is not observable. At the low wind speed, the corresponding turbulence in terms of the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate is significantly enhanced by rainfall as the waves are damped severely. At the high wind speed, the augment of the TKE dissipation rate is suppressed while the wind waves are enhanced simultaneously. In the field, however, rainfall usually hinders the development of waves. In order to explain this contradiction of rainfall effect on waves, a possibility about energy transfer from turbulence to waves in case of the spectral peak of waves overlapping the inertial subrange of turbulence is assumed. It can be applied to interpret the damping phenomenon of gas transfer velocity in the laboratory experiments, and the variation of the TKE dissipation rates near sea surface compared with the law of wall.

Key words

rainfall wind wave wave age turbulence turbulent kinetic energy 

Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Oceanography and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

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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