ocean-air interface

The sea and the atmosphere are fluids in contact with one another, but in different energy states - the liquid and the gaseous. The free surface boundary between them inhibits, but by no means totally prevents, exchange of mass and energy between the two. Almost all interchanges across this boundary occur most effectively when turbulent conditions prevail. A roughened sea surface, large differences in properties between the water and the air, or an unstable air column that facilitates the transport of air volumes from sea surface to high in the atmosphere. Both heat and water (vapor) tend to migrate across the boundary in the direction from sea to air. Heat is exchanged by three processes: radiation, conduction, and evaporation. The largest net exchange is through evaporation, the process of transferring water from sea to air by vaporization of the water.

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