Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ocean Waves

Last week I spent three days at Ocean City, Maryland, which is a beautiful resort town on the Atlantic Ocean. We had a little bit of a swell from Tropical Storm Franklin as it passed to the east. I have always enjoyed riding waves first on body boards and then on surf boards. Even when I do not have either of these I like to body surf the waves. The rush of catching a wave is an incredible feeling.

Once I had advanced far enough in physics and engineering to understand the properties of waves in general, I began to wonder about the physics of ocean waves in particular. From a brief search of the web, I found a couple of interesting sites that give explanations of how ocean waves form, how they propagate, and how the release their energy. The best overview discussion is here. A site with a little more math, but without quite enough physical background is here. A particular description of the formation of rogue waves is here. Please post references to any other descriptive or mathematical sites in the comments field.

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