A furious 65-knot storm just produced a record-breaking 78-feet-high monster wave in the Southern Ocean, the largest wave ever recorded there. The wave, measured by a MetOcean Solutions buoy near Campbell Island, 430 miles south of New Zealand, is 15 feet higher than the previous highest wave, recorded in the same spot just a year ago.
The 78-foot wave was recorded on the night of May 9 by a single solar-powered buoy that samples wave conditions for 20 minutes every three hours. The buoy measures wave height, period and direction, and uploads that data to a satellite. The scientists at MetOcean Solution, a subsidiary of the Meteorological Service of New Zealand, actually had predicted higher wave heights – up to 82 feet – during the storm.
The Southern Ocean is one of the least-studied spots on earth. But the MetOcean Solutions researchers say its heavy and persistent winds make it an “engine room” for developing large waves that circle the world, even producing the iconic surfing waves on the California coast. “This is a very important storm to capture and it will add greatly to our understanding of the wave physics under extreme conditions on the Southern Ocean,” said Tom Durrant, a senior oceanographer with MetOcean Solutions. Read more: