A numerical and theoretical study of wind over fast-propagating water waves

Tao Cao, Lian Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Effects of fast-propagating water waves on the overlying wind are investigated using simulation and theoretical analysis. By performing a large eddy simulation (LES) of turbulent wind over water waves with high wave age we observe that the perturbation to wind velocity and pressure by the waves or the wave-induced airflow is mainly induced by the vertical movement of the wave surface. We perform scaling analysis to show that the turbulent stress effects on fast wave-induced airflow are negligible. Moreover we find that the curvilinear model developed for opposing wave effects on wind by Cao et al. (J. Fluid Mech. vol. 901 2020 p. A27) provides predictions that agree well with the present LES results of wind following fast waves. Our analyses of the results indicate that the fast wave-induced airflow is a quasilinear process. To elucidate the mechanisms for fast wave effects we split the curvilinear model into two equations corresponding to wave kinematics and forcing by wave elevation respectively. Using these equations we illustrate that the vertical component of wave orbital velocity induces a strong airflow perturbation which produces the dominant components of fast wave-induced airflow and determines its overall spatial structure. Furthermore we discover that the weak components of fast wave-induced airflow are forced by the dominant components via viscous stress and by the forcing induced by wave elevation and generate the form drag on the wave surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA38
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the Office of Naval Research, Department of Energy and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments, which greatly helped the improvement of the manuscript.

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  • surface gravity waves
  • wave-Turbulence interactions
  • wind-wave interactions


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