Flux measurements from a SWATH ship in SWADE

Kristina B. Katsaros, Mark A. Donelan, William M. Drennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The Surface Wave Dynamics Experiment (SWADE) took place east of the U.S. Coast in the winter of 1990-1991. A major objective of the research program is to refine our understanding of the relationship between fluxes to the sea surface and the sea state as determined from directional wave spectra. Simultaneous measurements of turbulent fluxes of mass, momentum and energy between sea and air, with the directional wave spectra, were required to meet this objective. In this short article we describe the process of obtaining turbulent flux measurements from a small water-plane-area twin hull (SWATH) ship. We measured turbulent fluxes of momentum, heat and water vapor from a tall mast at the bow of the SWATH ship Frederick G. Creed by the eddy correlation method, while the ship was moving into the wind. Directional wave spectra were obtained from a wave staff array ahead of the bow of the ship. The motion of the ship was recorded and a coordinate rotation was performed for each data sample. After all instrument response and motion corrections have been accounted for, we compare our calculated turbulent fluxes with values computed from another standard method, viz. the inertial dissipation method. This approach is not susceptible to platform motion but relies on assumptions that are not always valid. However, the two methods agree on average within 12%, 20% and 31% for momentum, water vapor and heat fluxes, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Aug 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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