Observed inter‐relations between 10m winds, ocean whitecaps and marine aerosols
Monahan, Edward C.
Fairall, Christopher W.
Davidson, Kenneth L.
Boyle, Patricia Jones
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Low elevation aerosol spectra, ocean whitecap cover and 10m wind speeds measured during the 1978 JASIN experiment have been inter‐related and compared with previously published observations. The positive dependence of aerosol concentration upon whitecap cover was found to increase with droplet radius reflecting the expected higher correlation of the concentration of larger droplets, which have shorter effective residence time in the marine atmospheric boundary layer, with the immediate whitecap cover, which reflects the instantaneous rate of aerosol generation at the sea surface. The power‐law wind dependence, Uγ of the low elevation concentration of droplets larger than 8γm radius was determined to be similar to the wind dependence of whitecap cover, with γ values of 3.23 and 3.31 resulting from the respective application of the robust bi‐weight fitting technique. This observation is consonant with an aerosol generation model in which the instantaneous rate of production is simply proportional to the immediate whitecap cover. The large droplet end of the JASIN low elevation aerosol spectrum is seen to undergo a marked enhancement when the wind speed exceeds 10ms¯1. This is a consequence of the onset at that speed of supplementary droplet production via the mechanical disruption of wave crests. The observed growth, with increasing wind speed, in the disparity in amplitude of near‐sea‐surface and near‐cloud‐base aerosol spectra is in part a consequence of the fact that the larger droplets, produced in relative abundance at the higher wind speeds, fall out before they can be mixed effectively through the boundary layer.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/qj.49710946010
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