Stability and sea state as limiting conditions for TKE dissipation and dissipative heating

Andrew W. Smith, Brian K. Haus, Jun A. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study analyzes high-resolution ship data collected in the Gulf of Mexico during the Lagrangian Submesoscale Experiment (LASER) from January to February 2016 to produce the first reported measurements of dissipative heating in the explicitly nonhurricane atmospheric surface layer. Although typically computed from theory as a function of wind speed cubed, the dissipative heating directly estimated via the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate is also presented. The dissipative heating magnitude agreed with a previous study that estimated the dissipative heating in the hurricane boundary layer using in situ aircraft data. Our observations that the 10-m neutral drag coefficient parameterized using TKE dissipation rate approaches zero slope as wind increases suggests that TKE dissipation and dissipative heating are constrained to a physical limit. Both surface-layer stability and sea state were observed to be important conditions influencing dissipative heating, with the stability determined via TKE budget terms and the sea state determined via wave steepness and age using direct shipboard measurements. Momentum and enthalpy fluxes used in the TKE budget are determined using the eddy-correlation method. It is found that the TKE dissipation rate and the dissipative heating are largest in a nonneutral atmospheric surface layer with a sea surface comprising steep wind sea and slow swell waves at a given surface wind speed, whereas the ratio of dissipative heating to enthalpy fluxes is largest in near-neutral stability where the turbulent vertical velocities are near zero.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-706
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Keywords

  • Air-sea interaction
  • Energy budget/balance
  • Ship observations
  • Spectral analysis/models/distribution
  • Surface layer
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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