Experiments with Controlled Langmuir Circulations

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Science  18 Aug 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4356, pp. 618-620
DOI: 10.1126/science.201.4356.618


Laboratory experiments in which wind was blown gently over a regular crossed-wave pattern have clearly shown the existence of regular, steady, and reproducible Langmuir circulations. The circulations were present only when both the wind and the wave patterns existed at the same time. With circulations having an across-wind wavelength of 44 centimeters, the descending vertical motions carried turbulent surface water downward 39 centimeters to the bottom of the wind and wave tank. The observations are in general agreement with the mathematical model of Craik and Leibovich, although further experiments will be required to definitively test the analytical model.