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1.

Use the bulk aerodynamic formula to calculate the evaporation rate from the ocean,
assuming a transfer coefficient for evaporation CDE = 10
!3
, a surface wind speed U=5 m/s,
and that the reference-level air temperature is 2 K less than the sea surface temperature.
Calculate the evaporation rate for (a) surface temperature Ts = 0C, saturation specific
humidity at the surface qs* = 3.75 " 10
!3
, relative humidity H = 50%; (b) Ts = 0C, qs* =
3.75"10
!3
, H = 100%; (c) Ts =30C, qs* = 27"10
!3
, H = 50%; (d) Ts = 30C, qs* = 27 "
10
!3
, H = 100%. Assume a fixed air density of 1.2 kg m
!3
. How would you evaluate the
importance of relative humidity versus the importance of surface temperature for
determining the evaporation rate?
The bulk aerodynamic formulas give us the turbulent sensible (SH) and latent heat (LE)
fluxes from the surface to the atmosphere in terms of the mean wind speed and temperature (for
SH) or specific humidity (for LE) differences between the surface and the atmosphere. For this
problem, we are only concerned with the latent heat flux equation, since we are interested in
calculating the evaporation rate. One form of this equation is:
(1) LE = !LC
DE
U q
s
*
1" RH ( ) + RH
#q
*
#T
T
s
" T
a
( )
$
%
&
'
(
)
See page 101 in chapter 4 of Hartmann or the class notes for a derivation of this equation.
In (1), ! is the air density, L is the latent heat of vaporization, CDE is the transfer coefficient for
evaporation, U is the mean wind speed, qs* is the saturation specific humidity, RH is the relative
humidity, and (Ts - Ta) is the difference between the sea surface temperature and the reference-
level air temperature. "q*/"T the rate of change of the saturation mixing ratio of water vapor with
temperature, and can be approximated using the Clausius-Clapeyron equation by:
(2)
!q
*
!T
" q
*
T ( )
L
R
v
T
2
#
$
%
&
'
(
where Rv is the gas constant for water vapor (461 J/kg/K). We now have all of the information we
need to calculate the heat loss from the surface due to evaporation.
ESE 101 HW #6 Solutions
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Table 1: Evaporation rates as a function of surface
temperature (Ts) and relative humidity (RH)
Ts = 0C Ts = 30C
RH = 50%
RH = 100%
32.2 W/m
2
219 W/m
2
8.19 W/m
2
45.2 W/m
2
2. Calculate the Bowen ratio using the bulk aerodynamic formulas for surface temperatures
of 0, 15, and 30C, if the relative humidity of the air at the reference level is 70% and the
airsea temperature difference is 2 K. (Assume equal transfer coefficients for sensible
and latent heat.)
The Bowen ratio is the ratio of sensible to latent surface energy fluxes. Using the bulk
aerodynamic formulas,
(3a) SH = c
p
!C
DH
U
r
T
s
" T
r
( )
(3b) LE = L!C
DE
U
r
q
s
" q
r
( )
we can write an expression for the Bowen ratio, assuming that CDH = CDE:
(4) B
0
=
SH
LE
=
c
p
L
T
s
! T
r
( )
q
s
! q
r
( )
Here qs is the surface specific humidity, which is equal to q*(Ts) or qs*, and qr is the specific
humidity at the reference level. Using the definition of relative humidity:
(5) RH =
q
q
*
,
ESE 101 HW #6 Solutions
2
we can express the specific humidity at the reference level as qr = RH qr*. Then, we can linearize
this term:
(6) q
r
*
= q
s
*
+
!q
*
!T
T
a
" T
s
( ) + ... ,
neglecting higher order terms. Substituting these two expressions into (5) yields:
(7) B
0
=
c
p
L
T
s
! T
r
( )
q
s
*
! RH " q
r
*
( )
=
c
p
L
T
s
! T
r
( )
q
s
*
1! RH ( ) + RH
#q
*
#T
T
s
! T
r
( )
$
%
&
'
(
)
We can substitute equation (2) for "q*/"T. The saturation specific humidity is a function of
temperature, and can be calculated by integrating the Clausius Clapeyron equation, or read off of
a table or figure (i.e. figure 4.10 in Hartmann). We are already given qs*(0C) and qs*(30C)
from problem 1. Plugging these numbers into (7), we obtain:
Ts = 0C: B0 = 0.533
Ts = 15C: B0 = 0.234
Ts = 30C: B0 = 0.080
As the surface temperature increases, latent heat flux becomes more important relative to
the sensible heat flux.
3. Use the results of problem 2 to explain why high-latitude land areas often have high
surface moisture content.
Temperature decreases with latitude, and according to problem #2, this indicates that the
Bowen ratio decreases with latitude as well. More of the surface energy goes to driving sensible
heat fluxes than latent heat fluxes (evaporation) as latitude increases. Since insolation also
decreases with latitude, this implies that evaporation decreases with latitude as well.
Precipitation, however, does not decrease with latitude as rapidly, therefore higher latitudes tend
to have a higher surface moisture content than lower latitudes.
ESE 101 HW #6 Solutions
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