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The dependence of the measured cool skin of the ocean on wind stress and total heat flux


The temperature drop δT between the ocean surface and the 5-cm depth was recorded during GATE, Phase III. With measured values of the total heat flux Q and an assumption about the thickness of the viscous boundary layer of the ocean, the wind-speed dependence of the factor of proportionality between δT and Q is determined. This factor depends on the deviations of the thickness of the conductive layer from the thickness of the viscous layer and possibly partially on the wind stress. A further assumption about the thickness of the conductive layer leads to a wind-speed dependence of the ratio between total wind stress and its wave supporting part of it. This ratio increases from a value 1.5 at 1 m s−1 to 9 at 10 m s−1, which is in agreement with existing estimates.

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Grassl, H. The dependence of the measured cool skin of the ocean on wind stress and total heat flux. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 10, 465–474 (1976).

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  • Boundary Layer
  • Total Heat
  • Heat Flux
  • Wind Stress
  • Ocean Surface