ASA 124th Meeting New Orleans 1992 October

5pUW13. Oceanic whitecap coverage in the Gulf of Alaska during the February--March 1992 surface scattering and air--sea interaction experiment.

Edward C. Monahan

Qin Wang

Wei Wang

Martin B. Wilson

Marine Sci. Inst., Univ. of Connecticut, 1084 Shennecossett Rd., Groton, CT 06340-6097

The fraction of the sea surface covered by stage-A whitecaps, i.e., spilling wave crests, was determined for some 300 ten-minute daylight intervals between 19 February and 1 March 1992 from the analysis of video records collected from U. S. and Canadian research vessels in the Gulf of Alaska. These average stage-A whitecap coverage values were related to the relevant 10-m elevation wind speed values using the approach of Monahan and O'Muircheartaigh [Int. J. Remote Sensing 7, 627--642 (1986)], and the resulting functional relationship was compared to similar expressions derived from the analysis of stage-A whitecap records obtained during earlier open ocean experiments. The possible relationships between stage-A whitecap coverage, rate of bubble injection into the oceanic mixed layer, and the production of sound at discrete positions on the sea surface are described. [Work supported by the Office of Naval Research via Grants N00014-92-J-1167 and N00014-90-J-1538.]