Swell Modulation on Wind Stress in the Constant Flux Layer

Sheng Chen, Fangli Qiao, Jun A. Zhang, Hongyu Ma, Yuhuan Xue, Siyu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The impact of swell on wind stress is investigated through direct three-layer flux measurements taken by a fixed tower in the marine atmospheric boundary layer. Observations confirm that the assumption of constant momentum flux layer is valid under swell-dominated conditions around the reference height of 10 m. The swell can modulate the total wind stress to be less than the turbulent stress derived from the first-order closure method, and the extent of this modulation decreases with height. The critical layer that represents the top of the layer affected by stronger swells is estimated to reach 45-m altitude, and the depth of this layer decreases as the swells weaken and the wind speed increases. Furthermore, a simple swell correction scheme for the total stress calculation is developed, showing good performance against observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL089883
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 28 2020


  • constant flux layer
  • critical layer height
  • mutilevel flux observations
  • ocean swells
  • parameterization
  • wind stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Swell Modulation on Wind Stress in the Constant Flux Layer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this