The fine structure of laboratory wind-wave surfaces was investigated using an optical method. Several characteristic structures, closely associated with wind speed and the stage of development of the waves, are described. A parallel light, incident on the wind-wave surface, was backscattered by 'specular facets' perpendicular to the incident angle. These specular facets, which represented the fine structures, were photographed and quantitatively analyzed by image processing techniques. For wind speeds ranging from 3.6 to 13.6 m s-1, different types of small-scale undulations appeared: a three-dimensional rhombic structure; a train of capillary waves on the forward face with wavelengths gradually decreasing with distance from the crest, and a streaky structure on the backward face in the direction of the wind; and random and wide-spreading irregularities covering the whole wind-wave surface. The spatial scales and temporal variation of the undulations are described.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science