Fairall C. W., S. Pezoa, K. P. Moran and D. E. Wolfe (May 2014): An observation of sea-spray microphysics by airborne Doppler radar. Geophys. Res. Lett., 41 (10), 3658-3665. doi:10.1002/2014GL060062

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This paper describes observations and analysis of Doppler radar data from a down-looking 94 GHz (W-Band) system operated from a NOAA WP-3 Orion research aircraft in Tropical Storm (TS) Karen. The flight took place on 5 October 2013; Karen had weakened with maximum winds around 20 m s−1. Doppler spectral moments from the radar were processed to retrieve sea-spray microphysical properties (drop size and liquid water mass concentration) profiles in the height range 75–300 m above the sea surface. In the high wind speed regions of TS Karen (U10 > 15 m s−1), sea spray was observed with a nominal mass-mode radius of about 40 µm, a radar-weighted gravitational fall velocity of about 1 m s−1, and a mass concentration of about 10−3 gm−3 at 75 m. Spray-drop mass concentration declined with height to values of about 10−4 gm−3 at 300 m. Drop mass decreased slightly more slowly with increasing height than predicted by surface-layer similarity theory for a balance of turbulent diffusion vs fall velocity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060062
URI: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/pubs/id/eprint/1046