The impact of waves and sea spray on modeling storm track and development

Lichuan Wu, Anna Rutgersson, Erik Sahlée, Xiaoli Guo Larsén

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In high wind speed conditions, sea spray generated by intensely breaking waves greatly influences the windstress and heat fluxes. Measurements indicate that the drag coefficient decreases at high wind speeds. The seaspray generation function (SSGF), an important term of wind stress parameterisation at high wind speeds, isusually treated as a function of wind speed/friction velocity. In this study, we introduce a wave-state-dependentSSGF and wave-age-dependent Charnock number into a high wind speedwind stress parameterisation. Thenewly proposed wind stress parameterisation and sea spray heat flux parameterisation were applied to anatmospherewave coupled model to study the mid-latitude storm development of six storm cases. Comparedwith measurements from the FINO1 platform in the North Sea, the new wind stress parameterisation canreduce wind speed simulation errors in the high wind speed range. Considering only sea spray impact on windstress (and not on heat fluxes) will intensify the storms (in terms of minimum sea level pressure and maximumwind speed), but has little effect on the storm tracks. Considering the impact of sea spray on heat fluxes only(not on wind stress) can improve the model performance regarding air temperature, but it has little effect onthe storm intensity and storm track performance. If the impact of sea spray on both the wind stress and heatfluxes is taken into account, the model performs best in all experiments for minimum sea level pressure,maximum wind speed and air temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27967
JournalTellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 L. Wu et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.


  • Sea spray
  • Wind stress
  • Heat fluxes
  • Storms

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