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Video Catches Bubbles in Waves

Photonics Spectra
Nov 2002
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla have employed high-speed imaging to quantify the formation of bubbles in breaking waves. A better understanding of the process, which affects air-sea gas transfer, may make possible more accurate models of climate and of marine noise.

In experiments in the lab and off the coast of California, the scientists collected optical and acoustic measurements of the bubbles formed in breakers. Upon examining the individual frames of the video footage, they discovered a distinct change in the slope of the size distributions of the bubbles -- in both cases at approximately 1 mm in diameter.

The results of the work appear in the Aug. 22 issue of Nature.

Research & Technology

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