Highest wave [Wind-generated]
Last updated: May 11, 2018 at 15:08 pm
34 m (112 ft) — The wave was observed by scientists aboard the USS Ramapo, a survey ship with the U.S. Hydrographic Office, in the Pacific Ocean on February 6, 1933. The wave was recorded during a storm that produced strong winds across the entire Pacific. Wind velocity at the time of the observation was 68 knots (126 km/h | 78 mph). The wave was measured from peak to trough by means of triangulation. The distance between two successive crests was 335 m (1,100 ft) and the wave speed was over 80 km/h (50 mph).
The World Meteorological Organisation lists the World’s Highest Significant Wave Height by Ship Observation at 18.5 m (60.7 ft). The wave was recorded in the North Atlantic (57°30’N, 12°42’W) on February 8, 2000.
The World Meteorological Organisation lists the World’s Highest Significant Wave Height by Buoy at 19 m (62.3 ft). The wave was recorded in the North Atlantic (59°07’N, 11°42’W) on February 4, 2013.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tsunamis, or tidal waves, may be much taller than wind-generated waves.
University of California Santa Cruz, Seymour Marine Discovery Center
United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.