Correlation of Fractional Foam Coverage with Gas Transport Rates

by W. E. Asher, Battelle Marine Sciences Lab, Sequim, United States,
E. C. Monahan, Battelle Marine Sciences Lab, Sequim, United States,
R. Wanninkhof, Battelle Marine Sciences Lab, Sequim, United States,
T. S. Bates, Battelle Marine Sciences Lab, Sequim, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Air-Water Mass Transfer

Abstract: Because breaking waves are believed to increase the flux of gases across the air/sea interface, it may be possible to correlate air/sea gas transport velocities with whitecap coverage. Correlation of gas transport velocities with whitecap coverage may then allow their prediction from measurements of apparent microwave brightness temperature because breaking waves are also known to increase sea surface microwave emissivity. As an initial step in developing this remote-sensing based method for predicting air/sea gas transport velocities, air/water gas transport velocities were measured for oxygen, helium, sulfur hexafluoride and dimethyl sulfide in the Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory Whitecap Simulation Tank. This allowed gas exchange to be studied as a function of bubble plume coverage, molecular diffusivity and aqueous phase solubility. For the sparingly soluble gases studied, bubble plume surface coverage was correlated with gas transport velocity. However, bubble plumes were less effective in promoting gas exchange as the aqueous phase solubility of the gas increased.

Subject Headings: Breaking waves | Wave velocity | Plumes | Solubility | Dissolved gases | Correlation

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