Lab 6 – Ocean Waves: Linking the Marine Atmosphere and the Ocean Surface
This exercise is a case study of a very quickly developing low pressure center (a ‘bomb cyclone’) on the New England continental shelf and the response of the sea surface to the rapidly changing winds and pressure. These storms can produce high seas very quickly, especially when the local seas combine with swell generated along the storm’s path. The waves generated by these intense storms travel to the shoreline and are responsible for large amounts of coastal erosion that can put infrastructure, ecosystems, and communities at risk. They also produce potentially dangerous conditions for ships at sea.
Activities in this Lab
- Lab 6.1 – How quickly can atmospheric conditions change?
- Lab 6.2 – How does the ocean react to changes in the atmosphere?
- Lab 6.3 – Wave dynamics
- LO1. Demonstrate basic data literacy in graph interpretation by identifying values of meteorological and oceanographic variables (with appropriate units) at specified times and describe their change over time. [Lab 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3]
- LO2. Identify specific values of barometric pressure in a time series and describe the changes occurring in barometric pressure during a specific period of time. [Lab 6.1]
- LO3. Identify trends in wind speed in a time series and relate changes in barometric pressure to changes in wind speed to develop and establish the relationship between the two variables. [Lab 6.2]
- LO4. Identify specific values of wind speed and maximum wave height in a time series and relate changes in wind speed to changes in wave height to develop and establish the relationship between the two variables. [Lab 6.2]
- LO5. Identify specific values of wave period and wave height and use these to calculate wavelength and wave speed. Identified values of wave period will be used to explain the difference between sea and swell. [Lab 6.3]
- Key terms: barometric pressure, wind speed, sea, swell, wave height, wave period, wave frequency, wave phase speed, sea surface height
- OOI Array: Coastal Pioneer Array
- Sensors: Central Surface Buoy – bulk meteorological instrumentation suite and the surface wave spectra WAVSS Series A.
- Other need-to-know scientific background: students shall have completed a classroom lecture on the basic properties of surface waves.