On the wave age dependence of wind stress over pure wind seas

William M. Drennan, Hans C. Graber, Danièle Hauser, Céline Quentin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


Data from five recent field campaigns are selected for pure wind sea, deep water, and fully rough flow conditions. The combined data set includes a wide range of wave ages, with high variability in both friction velocity and wave phase speed. These data, which are expected to follow Monin-Obukhov similarity scaling, are used to investigate the influence of wave age on wind stress. The relationship between the dimensionless roughness and inverse wave age is found to be z0/σ = 13.4 (u*/cp 3.4, where z0 is the surface roughness length, σ is the standard deviation of the surface elevation, u* is the friction velocity, and cp is the wave phase speed at the peak of the spectrum. This relationship, which represents a significant dependence of roughness on wave age, was obtained using a procedure that minimizes the effects of spurious correlation in u· It is also shown to be consistent with the wave age relationship derived using an alternate form of the dimensionless roughness, namely, the Charnock parameter z0g/u2*, where g is the gravitational constant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-1 - 10-13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2003


  • Ocean waves
  • Roughness
  • Wave age
  • Wind sea
  • Wind stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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