Journal cover Journal topic
Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Ocean Sci., 6, 91-141, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
01 Feb 2010
Thermodynamic properties of sea air
R. Feistel1, D. G. Wright2, H.-J. Kretzschmar3, E. Hagen1, S. Herrmann3, and R. Span4 1Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, 18119 Warnemünde, Germany
2Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, NS, Canada
3Department of Technical Thermodynamics, Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences, 02763 Zittau, Germany
4Lehrstuhl für Thermodynamik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
Abstract. Very accurate thermodynamic potential functions are available for fluid water, ice, seawater and humid air covering wide ranges of temperature and pressure conditions. They permit the consistent computation of all equilibrium properties as, for example, required for coupled atmosphere-ocean models or the analysis of observational or experimental data. With the exception of humid air, these potential functions are already formulated as international standards released by the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (IAPWS), and have been adopted in 2009 for oceanography by IOC/UNESCO.

In this paper, we derive a collection of formulas for important quantities expressed in terms of the thermodynamic potentials, valid for typical phase transitions and composite systems of humid air and water/ice/seawater. Particular attention is given to equilibria between seawater and humid air, referred to as "sea air" here. In a related initiative, these formulas will soon be implemented in a source-code library for easy practical use. The library is primarily aimed at oceanographic applications but will be relevant to air-sea interaction and meteorology as well.

The formulas provided are valid for any consistent set of suitable thermodynamic potential functions. Here we adopt potential functions from previous publications in which they are constructed from theoretical laws and empirical data; they are briefly summarized in the appendix. The formulas make use of the full accuracy of these thermodynamic potentials, without additional approximations or empirical coefficients. They are expressed in the temperature scale ITS-90 and the 2008 Reference-Composition Salinity Scale.

Citation: Feistel, R., Wright, D. G., Kretzschmar, H.-J., Hagen, E., Herrmann, S., and Span, R.: Thermodynamic properties of sea air, Ocean Sci., 6, 91-141,, 2010.
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