Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Wind Stress Over the Ocean



Wind stress transfers momentum between the atmosphere and the ocean. It raises waves, generates the turbulence that mixes the near surface layers of both media, and governs the transport of heat, gas, and pollutants across their interface. Controlling the low-level, cross-isobaric flow of moist air, wind stress determines the strength of hurricanes and other atmospheric perturbations. As the ocean is a far less efficient heat engine than the atmosphere, the major sea currents that transport heat from low to high latitudes are almost entirely driven by winds. Investigation and modeling of all of these processes requires a comprehensive parameterization of the wind stress. Though this requirement is recognized explicitly as a crucial issue in its preface, Wind Stress over the Ocean deals with the separate physical processes that can influence the wind stress locally rather than with their integrated effect.