Research themes

Analytic and direct modelling

Research leaders: Prof Tu (Australia) and Assoc Prof Song (China)

Phase resolving models have now reached the level when they can be explicitly used to conduct analytical studies of full three-dimensional nonlinear wave evolution, in their coupled interdependence on the boundary layer above and wave-mixed layer below. Our research leaders are co-authors of such applications and models. Main targeted deliverables are directional distributions of wind-to-wave energy input and wave-breaking dissipation; two-phase modelling of wave breaking.

Spectral modelling

Research leaders: Prof Yuan (China) and Prof Chalikov (Australia)

Spectral models used for the wave forecast, were a significant step forward when introduced in the 1980s to predict the mean wave height. A new generation of this model is feasible. Main targets include coupling of approximated direct wave models, such as the nonlinear Schrodinger equation to simulate individual rogue waves, into spectral models; replacing parametric source term for the wind energy input with the fluid mechanics module for the wind wave boundary layer, in order to predict air–sea fluxes to be utilised by GCMs.

Wave-GCM coupling

Research leaders: Prof Qiao (China) and Assoc Prof Toffoli (Australia)

Coupling waves with GCMs is a general move in the large-scale air-sea interaction community presently. Our researchers, on both the Australian and Chinese sides, were among the initiators of this trend and have significantly contributed to studies of the wave-coupled effects both on the atmospheric and oceanic sides. Within the Centre, main targets are coupling both teams’ wave-turbulence mixing and wave-induced current schemes into the selections of main GCMs; validation of the coupled schemes by means of hurricane modelling, and extending the effort to the climate change research.

Experiments and remote sensing

Research Leaders: Prof Young (Australia) and Prof Huang (China)

Ultimate validation of any model is always against observations, and numerical research outputs are always subject to verification against experiments. The Australian and Chinese groups have most extensive experimental and data processing expertise and access to the best laboratory, in situ and remote sensing facilities and data, many of them purposefully built and assembled. Main targets are laboratory, in situ and remote-sensing research of dynamics of nonlinear waves, air-sea interactions and upper ocean; specifically, subsurface kinematics of nonlinear waves, 3D structure of wave fields, wave-turbulence production below and above the interface and wave-ice interactions.

Extreme conditions

Prof Babanin (Australia) and Prof Dai (China)

There is mounting evidence that at extreme weather, regime of air-sea interactions changes in all the three environments: lower atmosphere, ocean interface and the upper ocean. Our Australian and Chinese teams, in collaboration with their industry partners, establish the first two field sites for closed measurements of the air-sea-wave cycle in tropical cyclones, in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, respectively. The main targets of this research theme are comprehensive experimental and modelling research of extreme and other poorly understood oceanic conditions; specifically air–sea fluxes in tropical cyclones and other circumstances of extreme weather, wave–current interactions and swell propagation.