Relationship of oceanic whitecap coverage to wind speed and wind history

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Abstract

[1] Sea surface images obtained during the 2006 Marine Aerosol Production (MAP) campaign in the North East Atlantic were analysed for values of percentage whitecap coverage (W). Values of W are presented for wind speeds up to circa 23 m s−1. The W data were divided into two overlapping groups and a piecewise, wind-speed-only parameterization of W is proposed that is valid for wind speeds between 3.70 m s−1 and 23.09 m s−1. Segregation of data points based upon a 2.5 hour wind history acted to decrease data scatter at wind speeds above approximately 9.25 m s−1. At these wind speeds W values were greater for decreasing wind speeds than for increasing wind speeds. No clear wind history effect was observed at wind speeds below 9.25 m s−1.

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