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Journal Article

On the mass and momentum transfer between short gravity waves and larger-scale motions

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Hasselmann, K. F. (1971). On the mass and momentum transfer between short gravity waves and larger-scale motions. The Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 50, 189-205. doi:10.1017/S0022112071002520.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-DD3A-0
Interactions between short gravity waves and larger-scale flows are investigated in the two-scale approximation. The effect of the wave field on the mean flow is described by an interaction stress tensor and a surface mass transfer. The results are applied to Phillips’ and Longuet-Higgins’ model of short waves breaking on the crests of long carrier waves. It is found that the work done on the long waves by the interaction stresses (corresponding to Longuet-Higgins’ ‘maser’ mechanism of wave generation) is almost exactly balanced by the loss of potential energy arising from the mass transfer. The residual energy transfer leads to attenuation of the long waves, independent of their propagation direction relative to the short waves. Damping factors are estimated from the upwind–downwind ratios of radar backscatter cross-sections. It is found that interactions with waves shorter than 35cm yield attenuation rates about an order of magnitude smaller than the observed growth rates due to the wind. © 1971, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.