Mahrt Larry

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  • Article
    On estimating the surface wind stress over the sea
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-07-10) Mahrt, Larry ; Miller, Scott ; Hristov, Tihomir ; Edson, James B.
    Our study analyzes measurements primarily from two Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP) field programs and from the Air–Sea Interaction Tower (ASIT) site to examine the relationship between the wind and sea surface stress for contrasting conditions. The direct relationship of the surface momentum flux to U2 is found to be better posed than the relationship between and U, where U is the wind speed and is the friction velocity. Our datasets indicate that the stress magnitude often decreases significantly with height near the surface due to thin marine boundary layers and/or enhanced stress divergence close to the sea surface. Our study attempts to correct the surface stress estimated from traditional observational levels by using multiple observational levels near the surface and extrapolating to the surface. The effect of stability on the surface stress appears to be generally smaller than errors due to the stress divergence. Definite conclusions require more extensive measurements close to the sea surface.
  • Article
    On the exchange of momentum over the open ocean
    (American Meteorological Society, 2013-08) Edson, James B. ; Jampana, Venkata ; Weller, Robert A. ; Bigorre, Sebastien P. ; Plueddemann, Albert J. ; Fairall, Christopher W. ; Miller, Scott D. ; Mahrt, Larry ; Vickers, Dean ; Hersbach, Hans ; Zhao, F.
    This study investigates the exchange of momentum between the atmosphere and ocean using data collected from four oceanic field experiments. Direct covariance estimates of momentum fluxes were collected in all four experiments and wind profiles were collected during three of them. The objective of the investigation is to improve parameterizations of the surface roughness and drag coefficient used to estimate the surface stress from bulk formulas. Specifically, the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) 3.0 bulk flux algorithm is refined to create COARE 3.5. Oversea measurements of dimensionless shear are used to investigate the stability function under stable and convective conditions. The behavior of surface roughness is then investigated over a wider range of wind speeds (up to 25 m s−1) and wave conditions than have been available from previous oversea field studies. The wind speed dependence of the Charnock coefficient α in the COARE algorithm is modified to , where m = 0.017 m−1 s and b = −0.005. When combined with a parameterization for smooth flow, this formulation gives better agreement with the stress estimates from all of the field programs at all winds speeds with significant improvement for wind speeds over 13 m s−1. Wave age– and wave slope–dependent parameterizations of the surface roughness are also investigated, but the COARE 3.5 wind speed–dependent formulation matches the observations well without any wave information. The available data provide a simple reason for why wind speed–, wave age–, and wave slope–dependent formulations give similar results—the inverse wave age varies nearly linearly with wind speed in long-fetch conditions for wind speeds up to 25 m s−1.