Thursday, June 21, 2012

Climate models should include ocean waves

PhysOrg: A new field study by researchers from Swinburne University of Technology suggests that the effect of wave activity on oceans should be incorporated in long term climate and weather prediction models.

Mixing of the upper ocean directly affects the air-sea exchange of heat, momentum and gases, but currently wave physics exists only as a remote factor in most climate models.

"Large waves that occur in tropical storms and cyclones, can contribute in mixing a wider layer of the upper ocean with the cooler deeper parts, exchanging heat and carbon dioxide with the atmosphere which affects weather and climate," said lead researcher Dr. Alessandro Toffoli from Swinburne's Centre for Ocean Engineering, Science and Technology.

The study analyzed oceanographic data supplied by Woodside Energy Ltd from the North Rankin A Gas Platform over the North-West Shelf about 135 kilometres off the coast of Australia between January and April 2006.

The period includes six tropical cyclones, whose wind speed at the location was above 10 metres per second and maximum significant wave heights were greater than three meters. The study found that during summer periods the mixed layer depth and its variability is strongly affected by the injection of wave-induced turbulence, especially during cyclone seasons....

May 30, 2011) Waves crash over the bow of the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) while the ship is underway in the Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Richard Keltner/Released)

No comments: