Effects of Sea Spray on Air-Sea Fluxes and the Wave Boundary Layer in High Winds
This study aims to connect the physical processes of spray to the resulting air-sea fluxes and near-surface changes by exercising wind and seastate-based spray generation models in realistic high-wind environments produced from coupled AWO simulations. Using the Unified Wave Interface-Coupled Model (UWIN-CM), we perform simulations of Hurricanes Dorian (2019), Michael (2018), Florence (2018), Harvey (2017) and Typhoon Fanapi (2010) and test the sensitivity of these storms to model assumptions across a range of high-wind conditions.
It is found that the efficiency of spray in transferring heat and moisture depends strongly on the size distribution of droplets generated, highlighting the importance of assumptions made by wind and seastate-based generation models. It is also found that variation in storm conditions (e.g. wind speed, wave height, humidity) strongly affects spray heat fluxes. Impacts of spray on the near-surface region, as well as generalization of our results to global high-impact weather systems, are a focus of ongoing analysis.