The influence of swell on the atmospheric boundary layer under nonneutral conditions

Zhongshui Zou, Dongliang Zhao, Jun A. Zhang, Shuiqing Li, Yinhe Cheng, Haibin Lv, Xin Ma

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9 Scopus citations


The anomalous phenomena induced by the prevailing swell at low wind speeds prevent a complete understanding of air-sea interaction processes. Many studies have considered this complex problem, but most have focused on near-neutral conditions. In this study, the influence of the swell on the atmospheric boundary under nonneutral conditions was addressed by extending the turbulent closure models of Makin and Kudryavtsev and the Monin-Obukhov similarity theory (MOST; Monin and Yaglom) to the existence of swell and nonneutral conditions. It was shown that wind profiles derived from these models were consistent with each other and both departed from the traditional MOST. At low wind speeds, a supergeostrophic jet appeared on the upper edge of the wave boundary layer, which was also reported in earlier studies. Under nonneutral conditions, the influence of buoyancy was significant. The slope of the wind profile increased under stable conditions and became smoother under unstable conditions. Considering the effects of buoyancy and swell, the wind stress derived from the model agreed quantitatively with the observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-936
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Atmosphere-ocean interaction
  • Boundary layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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