Sea-state-dependent wind work on the oceanic general circulation

Authors


Abstract

[1] We examine sea-state-dependent wind work on the oceanic general circulation, using a wave hindcast dataset, QuikSCAT winds, and geostrophic and total ocean surface currents from (1) AVISO and (2) ECCO2 model products. For wind work on surface geostrophic currents estimated from AVISO or ECCO2, sea-state-dependent wind stress increases an average of 24% (0.17TW) or 23% (0.15TW), compared with estimates that exclude sea state effects. For wind work on the total surface currents, the sea-state-dependent wind stress increases the wind work by about 24% (0.4TW). In terms of spatial distribution, the increase in wind power input occurs mainly in high-wind tropical regions and the mid-latitude storm track regions, like the Antarctic Circumpolar Current region, where the relatively rough ocean surface is characterized by young waves and high winds. By comparison, in some regions with relatively low winds and mature ocean waves, there is a slight reduction in estimated wind power input.