What is it about?

A better understanding of the wave-breaking process is required to improve the subgrid-scale parameterizations in ocean circulation models and coupled atmosphere–ocean simulations. Determining the breaking onset, breaking wave geometry, and the breaking induced energy dissipation are critical to accurate wave modeling and reliable forecasts. It will also have a significant effect on the wave loading on coastal and ocean structures. The phenomenon of wind-modulated breaking of either short wind waves or long swell waves is not uncommon in the open ocean. This study investigated the effects of both wind direction and speed on the geometry of wave breaking.

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Why is it important?

Our results show that the following and opposing wind increases and decreases the wave height and skewness (crest-trough wave asymmetry), respectively. We observed that a strong opposing wind forcing may even cause the wave crest tilt backwards and prevent the plunging breaker from occurring at all. The aforementioned wind influence on wave shape and breaking type, in turn, would alter the breaking-induced wave energy dissipation since it is proportional to the breaking strength parameter, which is a function of the breaking wave geometry.

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This page is a summary of: Geometry of deep and intermediate water breaking waves influenced by wind speed and direction, Physics of Fluids, August 2022, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0101943.
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