22 Jun 2021
22 Jun 2021
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Variability of wind wave field by realistic mesoscale and submesoscale eddy field

Gwendal Marechal1, and Charly de Marez1, Gwendal Marechal and Charly de Marez
  • 1Univ. Brest, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Brest, France
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Recent altimeters and numerical studies have shown that wind waves interact strongly with small scale open ocean currents, and subsequently modify their amplitude, frequency, and direction. In the present paper we investigate the interactions of wind waves with a large realistic cyclonic eddy. This eddy is subject to instabilities leading to the generation of specific features both at mesoscale and submesoscale. We use the WAVEWATCH III framework to force wind waves in the eddy before and after instabilities occurred. Our findings show that the spatial variability of wave direction frequency and amplitude is very sensitive to the presence of underlying submesoscale structures resulting from the eddy destabilisation. As the surface current vorticity, the intrinsic frequency of incident waves is key in the wave response of the current modulation. Our findings also suggest that surface current gradients can be retrieved thanks to wave height gradients at scale where traditional altimeter measurements fail.

Gwendal Marechal and Charly de Marez

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on os-2021-53', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Jul 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC1', Gwendal Marechal, 25 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on os-2021-53', Leonel Romero, 11 Aug 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Gwendal Marechal, 25 Sep 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on os-2021-53', Anonymous Referee #3, 16 Aug 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC3', Gwendal Marechal, 25 Sep 2021

Gwendal Marechal and Charly de Marez

Gwendal Marechal and Charly de Marez


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Short summary
The surface ocean is turbulent from several hundreds km to a few km. More the current field is turbulent more waves that are traveling over the underlying current are scattered. In the present works we focus on an isolated eddy where spontaneous instabilities have been occurred resulting in emergence of smaller structures. Thanks to the wave scattering we have been able to retrieve the underlying surface current gradients normally not retrievable with traditional current measurements.