Stab Magazine | Scientists Just Confirmed The Height Of The Largest Wave On Record

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Scientists Just Confirmed The Height Of The Largest Wave On Record

Bigger than Bodhi’s fifty year storm.

news // Dec 15, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: < 1 minutes

It took the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) three years to do it, but they’ve finally called out the largest ‘significant wave height’ in recorded history. Back in February 2013 a North Atlantic storm spun to life in the waters between Iceland and the UK, whipping up winds topping 43 knots (81km/h or 50mp/h) birthing a monster swell. According to the ‘K5 buoy’ off Scotland, the record breaking wave measured 19 metres, or 62.3 feet in height. That’s about six storeys worth of cold Atlantic water. What’s frightening is that with buoy data and the ‘significant wave height’ scale is that this measurement is recorded in the open ocean and is an average figure, taken from the highest one-third of waves over a 17 and-a-half minute window. So the tallest individual wave would have been larger, and would have been even more wild had it struck landfall.

To add to your trivia knowledge bank, the largest wave recorded by a ship was from the British oceanographic research vessel RRS Discovery in 2000 coming in at 29.05 metres (95.03 feet). There are however reports of even larger rogue waves, one being in Alaska’s Lituya Bay in 1958 thought to have been 30.5 metres or 100 feet tall, that’s more than double the height of the tsunami that took out Fukushima back in 2011.

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