|Title||Directional diffusion of surface gravity wave action by ocean macroturbulence|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Boas A.BV, Young W.R|
|Type of Article||Article|
|Keywords||air/sea interactions; currents; dispersion; mechanics; motions; physics; refraction; scale; surface gravity waves; swell; water; waves in random media|
We use a multiple-scale expansion to average the wave action balance equation over an ensemble of sea-surface velocity fields characteristic of the ocean mesoscale and submesoscale. Assuming that the statistical properties of the flow are stationary and homogeneous, we derive an expression for a diffusivity tensor of surface-wave action density. The small parameter in this expansion is the ratio of surface current speed to gravity wave group speed. For isotropic currents, the action diffusivity is expressed in terms of the kinetic energy spectrum of the flow. A Helmholtz decomposition of the sea-surface currents into solenoidal (vortical) and potential (divergent) components shows that, to leading order, the potential component of the surface velocity field has no effect on the diffusivity of wave action: only the vortical component of the sea-surface velocity results in diffusion of surface-wave action. We validate our analytic results for the action diffusivity by Monte Carlo ray-tracing simulations through an ensemble of stochastic velocity fields.