A swell wave mea­sured at 23.8m

Saturday Star - - NEWS -

SCI­EN­TISTS have recorded what is be­lieved to be the largest wave ever in the south­ern hemi­sphere, a 23.8m mon­ster, the height of an eight-floor build­ing.

A buoy recorded the wave on Tues­day dur­ing a fe­ro­cious storm in the no­to­ri­ously wild South­ern Ocean near Campbell Is­land, some 700km south of New Zealand, re­search body Metocean So­lu­tions said.

Se­nior oceanog­ra­pher Tom Dur­rant said it wiped out the pre­vi­ous south­ern hemi­sphere record of 22.03m recorded in 2012.

“To our knowl­edge it is the largest wave ever recorded in the south­ern hemi­sphere.” The South­ern Ocean was an “en­gine room” for gen­er­at­ing swell waves that move across the planet.

“In­deed, surfers in Cal­i­for­nia can ex­pect en­ergy from this storm to ar­rive at their shores in about a week’s time,” he said.

Dur­rant added that even big­ger waves top­ping 25m were prob­a­bly whipped up by the storm, which tracked east through the area on Tues­day, but the buoy was not in the best place to record them.

He said the buoy, in­stalled in March to mea­sure the ex­treme con­di­tions in the South­ern Ocean, also only recorded for a 20-minute burst every three hours to con­serve its bat­ter­ies. “It’s very prob­a­ble that larger waves oc­curred while the buoy was not record­ing,” he said.

The largest wave ever noted was an earth­quake-gen­er­ated tsunami at Alaska’s Li­tuya Bay in 1958 that mea­sured 30.5m, ac­cord­ing to Smith­so­nian mag­a­zine. – AFP

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