Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-294
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-294
 
25 May 2022
25 May 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Wind work at the air-sea interface: A Modeling Study in Anticipation of Future Space Missions

Hector S. Torres1, Patrice Klein1,2,3, Jinbo Wang1, Alexander Wineteer1, Bo Qiu4, Andrew F. Thompson2, Ernesto Rodriguez1, Dimitris Menemenlis1, Andrea Molod5, Christopher N. Hill6, Ehud Strobach7, Hong Zhang1, Mar Flexas2, and Dragana Perkovic-Martin1 Hector S. Torres et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 2Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 3LMD/IPSL, CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure, PSL Research University, 75005 Paris, France
  • 4University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA
  • 5NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, MD, USA
  • 6Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, USA
  • 7Agricultural Research Organization, Israel

Abstract. Wind work at the air-sea interface is the transfer of kinetic energy between the ocean and the atmosphere and, as such, is an important part of the atmosphere-ocean coupled system. Since wind work involves winds and ocean currents that span a broad range of spatial and temporal scales, a comprehensive study would require access to observations of a wide range of space and time scales. In the absence of appropriate global observations, our study makes use of a new, global, coupled ocean-atmosphere simulation with horizontal grid spacing of 2–5 km for the ocean and 7 km for the atmosphere. Here we develop a methodology, both in physical and spectral space, to diagnose different components of wind work in terms of forcing distinct classes of oceanic motions, including mean currents, time-dependent large-scale currents and mesoscale eddies, and internal gravity waves such as near-inertial waves. The total simulated wind work has a magnitude of 5.21 TW, a value much larger than reported by previous modeling studies. The total wind work is first decomposed into time-mean and time-dependent components, with the former accounting for 2.23 TW (43 %) and the latter 2.98 TW (57 %). The time-dependent wind work is then decomposed into two components, a high-frequency component that forces internal gravity waves and a low-frequency component that forces mesoscale eddies and large-scale currents. The high-frequency component is positive at scales between 10 km and 1000 km and represents 75 % of the total time-dependent component. The low-frequency component is found to be positive for spatial scales larger than 275 km and ten times larger than the negative part associated with smaller spatial scales. The negative wind work acts as a surface drag that slows down surface currents and damps mesoscale eddies whereas the positive low-frequency part accelerates large-scale currents. The complex and consequential interplay of surface winds and currents in the numerical simulation motivates the need for a winds-and-currents satellite mission to directly observe these wind work components.

Hector S. Torres et al.

Status: open (until 20 Jul 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-294', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Jun 2022 reply
  • CEC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-294', Juan Antonio Añel, 16 Jun 2022 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on CEC1', Hector Torres, 23 Jun 2022 reply
      • CEC2: 'Reply on AC1', Juan Antonio Añel, 27 Jun 2022 reply
        • CEC3: 'Reply on CEC2', Juan Antonio Añel, 27 Jun 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-294', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Jun 2022 reply
  • AC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-294', Hector Torres, 24 Jun 2022 reply

Hector S. Torres et al.

Hector S. Torres et al.

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Short summary
Wind work at the air-sea interface is the scalar product of winds and currents and is the transfer of kinetic energy between the ocean and the atmosphere. Using a new, global, coupled ocean-atmosphere simulation performed at kilometer resolution, we show that all scales of winds and currents impact the ocean dynamics at spatial and temporal scales. The consequential interplay of surface winds and currents in the numerical simulation motivates the need for a winds-and-currents satellite mission.