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The highest wave in the open ocean: how was it

The highest tsunami was recorded in 1958 in a narrow bay in Alaska; then the water rose by 524 meters as a result of an underwater earthquake and the features of the relief of the bay. In the open ocean, the wind raises much smaller waves, but their height is still impressive.

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

In February 2013, the World Meteorological Organization registered a new wave height record: in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, between Iceland and the UK, an automatic weather station registered a wave with a height of 19 meters. The wind speed over the ocean surface that day reached 81 km/h. The previous record was recorded seven years earlier in approximately the same area and was 18.275 m.

Nineteen meters is a six—story house; many of the most modern vessels would not have been able to withstand a meeting with such a wave. It is in order to catch such monstrous waves, there is a network of drifting buoys, Marine Automatic weather Stations (Marine Automatic Weather Stations). A 19-meter wave was brought into The Book of Records as “The largest characteristic wave height recorded with a buoy”. Such a cautious formulation arose because there are other measurement methods, including satellites, and their measurements are sometimes difficult to compare with those performed by automatic buoy stations.

The height of a wave is the distance between its highest point and the lowest point of the wave ahead. The characteristic wave height is calculated as the average of the highest third of the waves for a selected period of time, so some real waves that raged in the Atlantic Ocean in February 2013 could be a little higher than 19 meters.


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