Articles | Volume 26, issue 4
13 May 2008
 | 13 May 2008

Long-term wave growth and its linear and nonlinear interactions with wind fluctuations

Z. Ge and P. C. Liu

Abstract. Following Ge and Liu (2007), the simultaneously recorded time series of wave elevation and wind velocity are examined for long-term (on Lavrenov's τ4-scale or 3 to 6 h) linear and nonlinear interactions between the wind fluctuations and the wave field. Over such long times the detected interaction patterns should reveal general characteristics for the wave growth process. The time series are divided into three episodes, each approximately 1.33 h long, to represent three sequential stages of wave growth. The classic Fourier-domain spectral and bispectral analyses are used to identify the linear and quadratic interactions between the waves and the wind fluctuations as well as between different components of the wave field.

The results show clearly that as the wave field grows the linear interaction becomes enhanced and covers wider range of frequencies. Two different wave-induced components of the wind fluctuations are identified. These components, one at around 0.4 Hz and the other at around 0.15 to 0.2 Hz, are generated and supported by both linear and quadratic wind-wave interactions probably through the distortions of the waves to the wind field. The fact that the higher-frequency wave-induced component always stays with the equilibrium range of the wave spectrum around 0.4 Hz and the lower-frequency one tends to move with the downshifting of the primary peak of the wave spectrum defines the partition of the primary peak and the equilibrium range of the wave spectrum, a characteristic that could not be revealed by short-time wavelet-based analyses in Ge and Liu (2007). Furthermore, these two wave-induced peaks of the wind spectrum appear to have different patterns of feedback to the wave field. The quadratic wave-wave interactions also are assessed using the auto-bispectrum and are found to be especially active during the first and the third episodes. Such directly detected wind-wave interactions, both linear and nonlinear, may complement the existing theoretical and numerical models, and can be used for future model development and validation.