Wind-generated water waves: two overlooked mechanisms?


Centre for Atmospheric Science at the

Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

University of Cambridge

Article appearing on pp. 105-118 of Proc. Inst. Maths. Applics. symposium on Wind over Waves II: Forecasting and Fundamentals of Applications, edited by S. G. Sajjadi and J. C. R. Hunt.   Horwood Publishing (Chichester, UK) and Inst. Maths. Applics. (Southend-on-Sea, UK), 2003, 232pp.   Symposium held at Cambridge, UK, 3-5 September 2001.

The complete article it finally appeared can be downloaded as an acrobat (.pdf) file (0.7 Mb) from here, as an uncompressed postscript (.ps) file (3 Mb) from here, or as a gzipped postscript (.ps.gz) file (0.6 Mb) from here.


The above is an animated version of Figure 1b of the article, appearing at centre right on page 107 of the published version*. It displays CRISTA data, by kind courtesy of Dr Martin Riese of the research group at Wuppertal that developed the CRISTA instrument under the leadership of Professor Dirk Offermann. The image is from a paper to appear in a special issue of J. Geophys. Res. in 2002, entitled `Stratospheric transport by planetary wave mixing as observed during CRISTA-2'. To re-animate it (necessary on some browsers), use the browser's reload button. The image shows nitrous oxide mixing ratios in the southern-hemispheric wintertime upper stratosphere over several days, at a pressure-altitude 10 hPa, about 30 km. Nitrous oxide mixing ratios exhibit a large pole-to-equator gradient, yet provide an almost perfect passive tracer on timescales of days and weeks, characteristic of stratospheric Rossby waves and Rossby-wave breaking. Thus one can see the almost perfect mixing in large parts of the midlatitude `surf zone' (light blue area) and the steep gradients concentrated at its edges, indicating the reality of the inhomogeneous winter-stratospheric `wave-turbulence jigsaw puzzle', in which both waves and turbulence have essential roles. There is a closely analogous statement about wind-generated water waves.

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Michael Edgeworth McIntyre (mem at, DAMTP, University of Cambridge, Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9EW

Last updated 11 May 2004
*Note that it's the central pair of plots in Figure 1 that are referred to in the text and caption, in the published version. The top and bottom pairs were added through an accident at the printers, and the original colour plots were converted to black and white. To make sense of the published version, confine attention to the middle pair of pictures and read `blue' as `mid-gray', `yellow' as `light gray', etc. (Or use the preprint downloadable from here, which displays Figure 1 correctly.)