78-Foot Wave Is the Largest Ever Recorded in Southern Hemisphere

78-Foot Wave Is the Largest Ever Recorded in Southern Hemisphere

Scientists in New Zealand have documented what they believe is the largest wave ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. And much larger waves have been recorded in the Northern Hemisphere, but it's still pretty insane to think that a 78-foot wave rolled through the ocean recently.

That was a record for the Southern Ocean, Tom Durrant, an oceanographer for the Meteorological Metservice of New Zealand, told the Sydney Morning Herald. A buoy recorded the wave on Tuesday during a ferocious storm in the notoriously wild Southern Ocean near Campbell Island, some 700 kilometres (430 miles) south of New Zealand, research body MetOcean Solutions said.

The buoy operates for 20 minutes every three hours. This week, in the chilly seas off the south coast of New Zealand, one of the world's most remote buoys rose and then fell 24 metres, the height of Buckingham Palace.

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"This is exactly the sort of data we were hoping to capture at the outset of the program", says the man in charge of deploying the buoy back in March, Peter McComb from MetOcean Solutions.

"Indeed, surfers in California can expect energy from this storm to arrive at their shores in about a week's time", he said. "Seventy-eight feet?" you think.

So just how big was this wave? "That's around the size of the world-record for biggest wave ever surfed!".

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Durrant added that the Tuesday's wave was generated by a deep low-pressure system and wind speed exceeding 65 knots. "It is likely that the peak heights during this storm were actually much higher", Dr Durrant explained, "with individual waves greater than 25m being possible as the wave forecast for the storm show larger wave conditions just north of the buoy location". An expert suggests the monster wave may not be an anomaly and future storms may bring even larger waves.

The 23.8 meters is the maximum wave height. One of the consequences of a warming world is thought to be more intense storms - and that means larger waves.

The significant wave height for the Southern Ocean wave was 14.9 meters.

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