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Convective boundary-layer structure in the presence of wind-following swell



The marine boundary layer is known to be influenced by fast long ocean swell waves travelling away from their generation area, where they were initiated by momentum transferred to the ocean wave field during storms. The atmospheric boundary layer during wind-following swell and various stability states has been investigated using large-eddy simulation (LES) data. The dominant energy-containing motions in the near-neutral atmospheric boundary layer over flat terrain are known to be dominated by near-ground shear-induced regions of high- and low-speed flow. Wind fields and momentum fluxes from LES for swell-dominated situations have been used to interpret field measurements suggesting that these motions are disrupted by effects related to the underlying wave field in the presence of swell waves. Statistical analysis and visualization are used to further describe the effects of stratification during swell for convective boundary-layer winds and fluxes. A mechanism for transport of momentum to the upper levels of the boundary layer is suggested from interpretation of LES data. Coherent detached eddies from the directly wave-induced motions near the surface are found to maintain an upward momentum transfer. This mechanism is found to strengthen during stronger swell conditions and also during slightly convective conditions. In this way, it is argued that processes related to both the wave field and surface convection can have a significant influence on the global structure of neutral and convective boundary layers during swell. This has implication for the turbulence length-scales during wind-following swell. Copyright © 2012 Royal Meteorological Society

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