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    Jesse Ferrell

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    100-Foot Waves Off Coast of UK, Versus Records

    February 4, 2013; 3:46 PM ET

    UPDATE: The 75.5-foot max wave measurement from the BBC was another unofficial measurement, made by "Hebridean Marine Energy Futures."


    Earlier today I saw the highest Significant Wave Height* from the National Data Buoy Center that I have ever seen online. Buoy #64045 - also known as the "K5 Buoy" northwest of Ireland - reported an hourly reading of 63.2 feet, captured in the graph below.

    Since then, the BBC has reported a wave height of 75.5 feet offshore, and an unofficial European Marine Energy Centre buoy nearby measured 102.5 feet:

    Is this measurement plausible? They say this data is not QC'd and could contain errors, but the 63.2 feet I mentioned above was "Significant Wave Height: The mean of the highest 1/3 waves in the record" -- meaning the highest wave was likely quite a bit larger. If confirmed, the wave depicted above would qualify as a Rogue Wave, which is defined as more than twice the height of the SWH. The WaveWatch III forecast model certainly had forecast wave heights "off the chart" at 12Z time this morning:

    If confirmed, would this be a new world record wave? Probably not, but it would be in that territory. Some famous waves include:

    - A 112-foot wave was estimated by a ship captain in the Northern Pacific [PDF]

    - An estimated 100-foot wave surfed recently in Portugal (picture | story)

    - The MaxWave project found waves to 91 feet in the South Atlantic in the early 2000s.

    - Hurricane Ivan is estimated to have caused waves between 91 feet and 132 feet

    Is climate change causing bigger waves? I see no evidence to support that, but, like tornadoes, the number of reports is increasing due to the internet and mobile phone technology.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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