Air-sea gas exchange

TitleAir-sea gas exchange
Publication TypeIn Collection
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsJähne, B
EditorSteele, JH, Turekian, KK, Thorpe, SA
Collection TitleEncyclopedia Ocean Sciences
Publication Languageeng

The exchange of inert and sparingly soluble gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, and oxygen, between the atmosphere and oceans is controlled by a 20-200 um-thick boundary layer at the top of the ocean. The hydrodynamics in this layer is significantly different from boundary layers at rigid walls since the orbital motion of the waves is of the same order as the velocities in the viscous boundary layer. Laboratory and field measurements show that wind waves and surfactants significantly influence the gas-transfer process. Because of limited experimental techniques, the details of the mechanisms and the structure of the turbulence in the boundary layer at a wavy water surface are still not known. A number of new imaging techniques are described which give direct insight into the transfer processes and promise to trigger substantial theoretical progress in the near future.



Citation Keyjaehne2009