Estimating the Viscous Shear Stress at the Water Surface from Active Thermography

  • Christoph S. Garbe
  • Kai Degreif
  • Bernd Jähne
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


A novel technique is presented that makes it possible to measure the viscous shear stress τμ from active thermography. With a CO2 laser, patterns are written to the sea surface. This temperature structure is distorted by the linear velocity profile in the viscous boundary layer. Due to the non-zero penetration depth of both the laser and the infrared camera, this vertical velocity profile can be resolved. By resolving the velocity profile, the viscous shear stress can be extracted from the recorded image sequences. At the same time, the flow field at the water surface can be measured accurately. Estimating both quantities is only possible by modeling the imaging process as well as the velocity profile in the boundary layer. The model parameters can then be computed in a standard parameter estimation framework. This novel technique was tested both on simulated data and on measurements conducted in a small annular wind-wave flume. The friction velocity computed in this fashion compared favorably to independent measurements. Although not tested yet, this technique should be equally applicable to field measurements.


Transfer Velocity Total Little Square Viscous Boundary Layer Water Parcel Viscous Shear Stress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph S. Garbe
    • 1
  • Kai Degreif
    • 2
  • Bernd Jähne
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Center of Scientific Computing (IWR)University of HeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental Physics (IUP)University of HeidelbergGermany

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