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High-speed imagery captures new sea spray formation mechanism

Authors

  • Colin Schultz


Abstract

When strong winds blow over ocean waves, small droplets of sea spray rise into the air, enhancing the exchange of heat, mass, and energy between the air and the sea. How effective sea spray is at mediating each of these dynamics depends on the rate at which droplets are created and the drop size distribution of the mist. Unfortunately, research has been limited by a dearth of observational evidence that could explain the details of sea spray generation, including understanding the drop size distribution or the effects of different wind speeds. Previous research with high-speed cameras aiming to capture the moment of drop formation was limited by camera resolutions too low to see all but the largest drops.