Wind Stress Variability Directly Measured at a Tidal Inlet from a Mobile Vessel

Monday, 15 December 2014
David Gabriel Ortiz-Suslow1, Brian K Haus1, Nathan Laxague1,2, Neil J Williams1 and Hans Christian Graber1,3, (1)University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States, (2)RSMAS, Miami, FL, United States, (3)Univ Miami RSMAS, Miami, FL, United States
Tidal inlets are characterized by a dynamic coupling of waves, currents, wind, and topography and to better understand these processes the Riverine and Estuarine Transport (RIVET) experiment was conducted during the month of May 2012 at New River Inlet, North Carolina. As a part of that effort, the Surface Physics Experimental Catamaran (SPEC) was outfitted with a suite of concurrently sampled atmospheric and oceanographic sensors. These included a meteorological mast capable of measuring the air-sea momentum flux, paired subsurface ADV’s, a downward looking ADCP, and a bow-mounted wave-staff array. Using a mobile platform enabled capturing the fine-scale dynamical features across this highly sheared zone, without compromising spatial or temporal resolution. The SPEC was deployed, in part, to make direct wind stress measurements and the eddy covariance method was used to calculate the 10 m neutral drag coefficients from the observed wind shear velocities. In general, for any given wind speed, measured drag coefficients were about 2.5 times greater than those derived from bulk relations (e.g. Smith, 1988). Observations of the wind stress angle show significant wind stress steering, up to about 70o off the mean wind direction, within 2 km off-shore of the inlet mouth. The causes for the departure of these observations from conventional open ocean results remains under investigation, although it is highly likely that these findings highlight processes unique to coastal waters that are not regarded in the well-established algorithms (e.g. depth-limited wave breaking and wave-current interactions). Preliminary results from the second installment in the RIVET campaign, which took place at the Mouth of the Columbia River during the spring of 2013, will also be shown.