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What Causes Ocean Waves?


wind causes waves


Wind is the most common creator of waves in the sea. The wind transfers its energy to the sea by dragging the ocean's surface. At first, wind blowing over the sea surface generates small ripples. If the wind continues to blow, the ripples grow and gradually form larger waves. The height of a wave in the open ocean depends on the strength and duration of the wind, the depth of the water, and the fetch, or size of the area over which the wind is blowing. The highest point on a wave is the peak or crest, its lowest point is the trough. The distance between crests is called the wavelength and the time it takes for one crest to the next to pass a fixed point is called the wave period.


Ellen Prager, StormCenter Communications

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