The Behaviour of the Latent Heat Exchange Coefficient in the Stable Marine Boundary Layer

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper


Knowledge of the turbulent fluxes at the sea surface is important for understanding the interaction between atmosphere and ocean. With better knowledge, improvements in the estimation of the heat exchange coefficients can be made and hence models are able to predict the weather and future climate with higher accuracy.

The exchange coefficients of latent and sensible heat during stable stratification vary in the literature. Therefore it is necessary to investigate the processes influencing the air-sea exchange of water vapour and heat in order to estimate these values. With measurements from a tower and a directional waverider buoy at the site Östergarnsholm in the Baltic Sea, data used in this study have been sampled from the years 2005-2007. This site represents open-ocean conditions during most situations when the wind comes from the south-east sector. The neutral exchange coefficients, CEN and CHN, have been calculated along with the non-dimensional profile functions for temperature and wind to study the dependence of stability and other parameters of relevance.

It was found that CEN increased slightly with wind speed and reached a mean value of approximately 1.45×10-3. The highest values of CEN were observed during near neutral conditions and low wave ages. CHN attained a mean value of approximately 0.77×10-3 and did not show any relation to wind speed or to wave age. No significant dependence with wind or wave direction could be shown for either CEN or CHN in the sector 80-220°. The stability correction, performed to reduce the dependence on stratification for CEN and CHN, was well performed for stabilities higher than 0.15. The stability is represented by a relationship between the height and the Obukhov-length (z/L).

Validity of the non-dimensional profile functions for temperature and wind showed that, for smaller stabilities, these functions gave higher values than the corresponding functions recommended by Högström (1996). The profile funtions for temperature was shown to have a larger scatter while the profile functions for wind was less scattered and deviated more from the functions given by Högström

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