Observational study of marine atmospheric boundary layer characteristics during swell

A. Smedman, U. Högström, E. Sahleé, W. M. Drennan, K. K. Kahma, H. Pettersson, F. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


By combining simultaneous data from an instrumented Air-Sea Interaction Spar (ASIS) buoy and a 30-m tower, profiles of wind and turbulence characteristics have been obtained at several heights from about 1 to 30mabove the water surface during swell conditions. Five cases formed as averages over time periods ranging from 2.5 to 9.5 h, representing quasi-steady conditions, have been selected. They represent a range of typical wave age and include wind-following swell cases and cross-swell cases. For relatively large wave age, the wind profile exhibits a well-defined maximum in the height range 5-10 m; for more modest wave age, this maximum turns into a sharp "knee" in the wind profile. Below the maximum (or knee), the wind increases rapidly with height; above that point the wind is very nearly constant up to the highest measuring level on the tower, 30 m. Analysis of balloon data from one day with swell indicates that the layer with constant wind in fact extends to the top of the boundary layer, in this case ~ 200 m. Analysis of the complete swell dataset from the 45 days of the 2003 Baltic Swell experiment shows that the results concerning wind profile shape obtained from the selected cases are generally valid in this experiment. Analysis of the nondimensional wind profile fm shows that Monin-Obukhov scaling is not valid during swell. Wind and turbulence characteristics are found not to vary to a significant degree with the wind/swell angle within the range of angles encountered, 6908.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2747-2763
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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