Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1972


This thesis attempts to determine the effect of air bubbles that are entrapped into the surface layers of the ocean by breaking waves on gas concentrations in the ocean and gas exchange across the air-sea interface. N2 and Ar data gathered during the Hudson-70 expedition produced indications of the magnitude and nature of the effect. A mathematical model is developed that equates the input of gas via bubble solution with the vertical eddy diffusion. Published values for bubble spectra and solution rates are used and assumptions are made concerning the effect of wind on bubble spectra. The model predicts a subsurface maximum in less soluble gases such as N2. A re-examination of the Hudson-70 data and additional data collected from the offshore oil rig SEDNETH-1 partially confirm the predictions of the model.

This work has serious implications on present conceptions of gas exchange mechanisms. The Lewis-Whitman Laminar Layer theory does not adequately explain observed gas exchange rates and their wind dependence. More knowledge of the ambient bubble spectra at various wind speeds and depths is needed to allow further work on theoretical predictions of bubble effects on gas exchange and gas concentrations.


0000-0003-2919-100X (Atkinson)

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Oceanography Commons