Abstract

The microstructure of the wind-disturbed water surface, characterized by surface-slope and surface-curvature distributions, is studied in a laboratory tank with a newly developed optical instrument. Some features of these distributions under various wind and wave conditions are systematically presented. It is also shown that wind waves arise at about the time when the airflow boundary layer becomes turbulent. At lower wind velocities, the formation of parasitic waves causes a skewed slope distribution; at high wind velocities, the wave breaking causes a peaked slope distribution. With a turbulent wind, similar variation of the mean-square slope with the shear velocity is shown in the present laboratory results and in older oceanic data, suggesting that the laboratory facility may be able to simulate the microstructure of the air–sea interface.

© 1971 Optical Society of America

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