The Enhancement of Air-Sea Gas Exchange by Oceanic Whitecapping

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by Edward C. Monahan, Univ of Connecticut at Avery Point, Groton, United States,
Thomas Torgersen, Univ of Connecticut at Avery Point, Groton, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Air-Water Mass Transfer:

Abstract: The hypothesis that oceanic whitecaps and the accompanying buoyant bubble plumes greatly enhance the air-sea transfer coefficient of gases subject to liquid phase control has recently been confirmed in a series of 'tipping bucket' experiments. Using recently refined expressions for the wind dependence of the fraction of the sea surface covered by whitecaps, a wind-dependent effective piston velocity has been inferred from these experiments. This piston velocity has been compared with the piston velocities determined from at-sea experiments, and is found to be in general conformity with these field results in the 5 to 10ms-1 wind speed range.

Subject Headings: Seas and oceans | Wind speed | Wind forces | Plumes | Buoyancy | Dissolved gases | Fluid velocity | Mass transfer |

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