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Ocean Waves. Anatomy of a Wave. A wave is the motion of a form that carries energy from one place to another The form is what moves, the material that the wave moves through does not move much. The wave form is characterized by: Amplitude, measured from midline

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anatomy of a wave
Anatomy of a Wave
  • A wave is the motion of a form that carries energy from one place to another
    • The form is what moves, the material that the wave moves through does not move much.
    • The wave form is characterized by:
      • Amplitude, measured from midline
      • Wavelength, measured between identical points of motion
      • Frequency, a count of how many wavelengths pass a fixed point in 1 second
anatomy of a wave1
Anatomy of a Wave
  • The speed of most waves is determined by the material that the wave is moving through.
  • The speed is calculated using:
  • Where
    • v is velocity, in m/s
    • f is frequency, in Hz
    • λ is wavelength, in m
anatomy of a wave2
Anatomy of a Wave
  • Ocean waves are generated when wind flows over water
    • The wind drags across the water, starting the formation of a wave
    • If the wind is fairly continuous, then the wave built will be larger
    • A group of large wave is called a Swell
wave size
Wave Size
  • Factors that affect the size of a wave:
    • Wind speed
      • Faster wind kicks up larger waves
    • Duration of wind
      • Long duration, stead winds create larger waves
    • Fetch
      • Distance available for the wind to work over
      • Large fetches produce large waves
waves and the shore
Waves and the Shore
  • As waves reach shallower water they begin to break up
    • Bottom of wave scrapes along seafloor, and slows down
    • Top continues to move forward quickly, and begins to curl over
    • Once top is too far ahead, the wave breaks
waves and the shore1
Waves and the Shore
  • After the wave breaks, the water is drawn back away from shore by undertow currents
  • If the waves are large enough, the undertow currents can develop into rip currents
    • Very strong undertows that pull water directly back into the sea
    • Strong enough to break through incoming waves
waves and the shore2
Waves and the Shore
  • As waves approach the shore, they nearly always bend to head straight into shore
  • This bending causes water beneath the waves to flow parallel to the shoreline. This can create longshore currents
    • Longshore currents help to straighten out shorelines, develop sandbars, and barrier islands