Swell and Wind-Sea Distributions over the Mid-Latitude and Tropical North Atlantic for the Period 2002–2008

  • de Farias E
  • Lorenzzetti J
  • Chapron B
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Abstract

We present an analysis of wind-sea and swell fields for mid-latitude and tropical Atlantic for the period 2002–2008 using a combination of satellite data (altimeter significant wave height and scatterometer surface winds) and model results (spectrum peak wave period and propagation direction). Results show a dominance of swell over wind-sea regimes throughout the year. A small but clear decrease in swell energy and an associated increase in wind-sea potential growth were observed in the NE trade winds zone. A seasonal summertime increase in wind-sea energy in the Amazon River mouth and adjacent shelf region and in African coast was apparent in the results, probably associated to a strengthening of the alongshore trade winds in these regions. Albeit with a significantly smaller energy contribution of wind-seas as compared to swell energy, we could say that a kind of mixed seas is more evident in the trade winds region, with the remaining area being highly dominated by swell energy. An analysis of wave-age shows the absence of young-seas. Only ~ 2% of all data points was classified as wind-sea, a classification confirmed by a fit to a theoretical relation between wind speed, peak period, and significant wave height for fully developed wind-seas.

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de Farias, E. G. G., Lorenzzetti, J. A., & Chapron, B. (2012). Swell and Wind-Sea Distributions over the Mid-Latitude and Tropical North Atlantic for the Period 2002–2008. International Journal of Oceanography, 2012, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/306723

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