Wind-wave stabilization by a foam layer between the atmosphere and the ocean

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study is motivated by recent findings of the decrease in the momentum transfer from strong winds to sea. The Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI) of a three-fluid system of air, foam and water is examined within the range of intermediately short surface waves. The foam-layer thickness necessary for effective separation of the atmosphere and the ocean is estimated. Due to high density contrasts in the three-fluid system, even a relatively thin foam layer between the atmosphere and the ocean can provide a significant stabilization of the water surface by the wavelength shift of the instability towards smaller scales. It is conjectured that such stabilization qualitatively explains the observed reduction of roughness and drag.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalDynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Foam
  • Kelvin-Helmholtz instability
  • Three-layer instability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Atmospheric Science

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