The energy flow from the atmosphere to the ocean generates an aerodynamically rough ocean surface. If the energy flow is sufficiently strong, in some points of the surface, waves loose their stability and eventually break in the form of whitecaps of various scales. The turbulence associated with the breakers produce the aerosols in the form of jet and film drops from the bursting of air bubbles. The aerosol droplets transfer water vapour, heat, pollutants and bacteria through the air-water interface. They are easily transported by wind over large distances. In this way, marine aerosols influence the optical features of the atmosphere, which are of fundamental importance for the remote sensing of the surface and they play an important role in climate variations.
The amount of marine aerosols rising from the sea surface depends on the coverage of the sea by breaking waves or whitecaps, and the rate of intensity of breaking. Much of the uncertainty in sea aerosols production and gas transfer arises from weaknesses in the parameterization of wave breaking and related processes.
This book describes the mechanisms of wave breaking, based on the theoretical and experimental achievements published in literature as well as on the author's experience. Special attention is paid to selection of the wave breaking criteria, and to development of the wave breaking probability and estimation of the energy dissipation due to breaking.
Secondly, the book examines the relationships between wave breaking and marine aerosol fluxes and gas transfer from the sea surface. In general, an amount of marine aerosol rising from the sea surface depends on the coverage of the sea by breaking waves or whitecaps, and on the rate of intensity of breaking. The wind speed, commonly used in prediction of the whitecaps coverage, is only one of the factors determining the wave energy and probability of the breaking occurrence. It is more appropriate to find the linkage between the percentage of sea surface covered by whitecaps and the sea state characteristics (i.e. the significant wave height and spectrum peak frequency) and the amount of energy dissipated during wave breaking and its relationship with the aerosol fluxes.
From the reviews: "Massel's new book describes how to model wave breaking and continues on to show how to use breaking wave models to estimate the production rate of the sea-salt aerosol at the ocean's surface. ! I like the production quality of this book. It has a comfortable size, pleasing font style and size, and sufficient white space to make for easy reading or scanning. The many figures are uniformly styled and formatted ! . valuable reference text for researchers studying air--sea interaction and marine aerosols." (Edgar L Andreas, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, March, 2009)
Introduction.- Mechanics of Steep and Breaking Waves.- Statistical Properties of Ocean Waves.- Experimental insights into Mechanisms of Wave Breaking.- Wave Beraking Criteria and Probability of Breaking.- Energy Dissipation Due to Wave Breaking in Deep Waters.- Whitecaps Coverage on the Sea Surface.- Estimation of Aerosol Fluxes in Deep Water.- Seasonal Variation of Aerosol Fluxes in the Baltic Sea.- Appendices
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Stanislaw Massel is currently a professor and the Director of the Institute of Oceanology in Sopot Poland.