E C Monahan
Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 111 Issue 3 September 2002 pp 315-319
Stage A whitecaps (spilling wave crests) have a microwave emissivity of close to 1. Thus if even a small fraction of the sea surface is covered by these features there will be a detectable enhancement in the apparent microwave brightness temperature of that surface as determined by satellite-borne microwave radiometers. This increase in the apparent microwave brightness temperature can as a consequence be routinely used to estimate the fraction of the sea surface covered by stage A whitecaps. For all but the very lowest wind speeds it has been shown in a series of controlled experiments that the air-sea gas transfer coefficient for each of a wide range of gases, including carbon dioxide and oxygen, is directly proportional to the fraction of the sea surface covered by these stage A whitecaps.
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