A number of geochemical processes are dependent on bubbles primarily produced by “whitecapping” breaking waves, notably primary marine aerosol production, bubble-mediated gas exchange and the renewal of the organically rich surface marine microlayer. It is convenient to predict the magnitude of these processes through a “whitecap method” that then requires whitecap coverage to be measured or predicted. Whitecap coverage is difficult to define and harder to measure. There is adequate evidence that whitecap coverage (and thus by implication, the processes driven by it) do not simply depend on wind speed. Typically whitecap coverage may vary by a factor of two either side of a geometric mean for a given wind speed in response to changes in sea state. Both parametric and relatively direct methods of retrieving whitecap coverage require further development.
|Title of host publication||Earth observation for ocean-atmosphere interactions science|
|Subtitle of host publication||proceedings of the ESA, SOLAS & EGU Joint Conference|
|Place of Publication||Noordwijk|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2012|
|Publisher||European Space Agency|
Woolf, D. K., & Goddijn-Murphy, L. (2012). The importance of whitecapping to air-sea interaction and Earth observation approaches to its retrieval. In L. Ouwehand (Ed.), Earth observation for ocean-atmosphere interactions science: proceedings of the ESA, SOLAS & EGU Joint Conference (ESA SP; Vol. 703). ESA Communications.