Evidence of sea-state dependence of aerosol concentration in the marine atmospheric boundary layer

TitleEvidence of sea-state dependence of aerosol concentration in the marine atmospheric boundary layer
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLenain L., Melville W.K
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Date Published2017/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-3670
Accession NumberWOS:000393300700005
Keywordsairborne lidar; energy-dissipation; fetch-limited waves; microphysical model. part; ocean; parameterization; simulations; spray aerosol; strong wind; surface-wave-breaking

Sea spray aerosols represent a large fraction of the aerosols present in the maritime environment. Despite evidence of the importance of surface wave- and wave breaking-related processes in coupling the ocean with the atmosphere, sea spray source generation functions are traditionally parameterized by the 10-m wind speed U-10 alone. It is clear that unless the wind and wave field are fully developed, the source function will be a function of both wind and wave parameters. This study reports primarily on the aerosol component of an air-sea interaction experiment, the phased-resolved High-Resolution Air-Sea Interaction Experiment (HIRES), conducted off the coast of northern California in June 2010. Detailed measurements of aerosol number concentration in the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) at altitudes ranging from as low as 30 m up to 800 m above mean sea level (MSL) over a broad range of environmental conditions (significant wave height H-s of 2 to 4.5 m and U-10 from 10 to 18 m s(-1)) collected from an instrumented research aircraft are presented. Aerosol number densities and volume are computed over a range of particle diameters from 0.1 to 200 mu m, while the sea surface conditions, including H-s, moments of the breaker length distribution ?(c), and wave breaking dissipation, were measured by a suite of electro-optical sensors that included the NASA Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM). The sea-state dependence of the aerosol concentration in the MABL is evident, stressing the need to incorporate wave parameters in the spray source generation functions that are traditionally parameterized by surface winds alone.

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