Oceanic turbulence dissipation measurements in SWADE

W. M. Drennan, M. A. Donelan, E. A. Terray, K. B. Katsaros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Recent experiments measuring turbulence dissipation rates in the upper ocean can be divided into two types: those supporting an analogy between the upper ocean and lower atmosphere, with dissipation rates following wall layer behavior, and those finding oceanic dissipation rates to be much higher than wall layer predictions. In an attempt to reconcile these two diverse sets of observations, Terray et al. proposed a wave-dependent scaling of the dissipation rate based on the significant wave height and the rate of energy input from the wind to the waves. Their parameterization was derived from observations of strongly forced, fetch-limited waves, although they conjectured that it would apply in typical oceanic conditions as well. This paper reports new measurements of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation made in the North Atlantic Ocean from a SWATH ship during the recent Surface Waves Dynamics Experiment (SWADE). These data support the scaling of Terray et al., verifying its validity when applied to the more fully developed waves typical of the ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-815
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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