Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 365–376 | Cite as

Effects of Bubbles and Sea Spray on Air–Sea Exchange in Hurricane Conditions

Open Access
Article

Abstract

The lower limit on the drag coefficient under hurricane force winds is determined by the break-up of the air–sea interface due to Kelvin–Helmholtz instability and formation of the two-phase transition layer consisting of sea spray and air bubbles. As a consequence, a regime of marginal stability develops. In this regime, the air–sea drag coefficient is determined by the turbulence characteristics of the two-phase transition layer. The upper limit on the drag coefficient is determined by the Charnock-type wave resistance. Most of the observational estimates of the drag coefficient obtained in hurricane conditions and in laboratory experiments appear to lie between the two extreme regimes: wave resistance and marginal stability.

Keywords

Air–sea interface Drag coefficient Hurricane Kelvin–Helmholtz instability Marginal stability 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Vladimir Kudryavtsev (Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center) and Mark Donelan (University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmosphere Science) for discussions of the problem of air–sea interactions under high wind-speed conditions. Alexander Soloviev acknowledges support from the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center project ‘Hydrodynamics and remoter sensing of far wakes of ships’. Roger Lukas has been supported by National Science Foundation grant OCE-0752606.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic CenterDania BeachUSA
  2. 2.Department of OceanographyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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