Standard Article

Air–Sea Interaction


  1. S. A. Hsu

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.oc1701

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Hsu, S. A. 2005. Air–Sea Interaction. Water Encyclopedia. 4:1–4.

Author Information

  1. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Air–sea interaction (ASI) is the exchange of energy and mass across the air–water interface. ASI encompasses vast variations in spatial and temporal scales, so a list of recent literature regarding these fields is provided. This article summarizes several basic and applied topics in ASI. They include but are not limited to the parameterization of stability and roughness lengths, determination of friction velocity, parameterization of latent heat flux and evaporation, and estimation of wind–wave interaction and shoaling depth during hurricanes. It is shown that the stability and roughness parameters, Bowen ratio, and evaporation can be estimated directly using measurements of wind, wave, and air and water temperatures from offshore buoys. The data from these buoys are reported hourly by the U.S. National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) at its website ( Because of the extensive impact caused by hurricanes, formulas are also provided to determine the maximum sustained wind speed, maximum significant wave height, storm surge, and shoaling depth using the minimum sea-level (central) pressure as the only input.


  • air–sea interaction;
  • overwater stability length;
  • roughness length;
  • friction velocity;
  • sensible heat flux;
  • latent heat flux;
  • Bowen ratio;
  • hurricanes;
  • significant wave height;
  • storm surge;
  • shoaling depth;
  • drag coefficient;
  • evaporation;
  • overwater wind speeds;
  • wind–wave interaction