Why are there Waves in the Ocean?

Only very rarely are the seas completely still.  There were times that sailors on the old sailing ships feared the most even more than they feared the worst storms. They became becalmed, which meant that no wind was blowing to fill the great sails to carry them to their next port of call. Let’s know more about why are there waves in the ocean.

The sea would be motionless and mirror-like and no rain would fall. If the sailors were held fast for too long their food would begin to run out, and perhaps more important fresh water would become scarce.

You may have guessed by now the connection between waves on the sea and the wind. In fact, waves are almost wholly the result of the wind. In fact, waves are almost wholly the result of the wind blowing across the surface of the water.

Perhaps you have played ‘blow’ water polo at home.  You need a table tennis ball, two pieces of tube and a bowl full of water. Float the table tennis ball in the bowl and blow through the tubes. As you blow on the two water you will notice that the surface is stirred up into ripples the harder you blow the bigger the ripples.

It is very similar to the sea. The wind drags the water to form waves which slowly move forward and get larger. Although wave shape moves forward, each particle of water moves around in circles and does into changing its average position.

The height of a wave depends upon three factors.  How hard the wind is blowing (you will realize why gale warnings are so important to sailors), how long the wind has been blowing, and the fetch. The word fetch means the length of the stretch of open water over which the wind is blowing.

Why are there Waves in the Ocean?

Breaking waves can exert tremendous force and cause cliffs to be eroded away.

What happens when a wave reaches the shore?

When a wave approaches shallow water-shallow means that the depth is less than half the distance between two wave tops it is slowed down by dragging on the sea bed. The first waves to approach the shore are slowed first and the ones behind the pileup.

The amount of water in each wave increases, the waves grows taller until eventually it topples over or breaks. It is these waves and breakers that are responsible for the many processes of erosion and deposition that are typical of every shoreline and beach.

Why are there Waves in the Ocean?

These diagrams show the movement of waves at the ocean and the way in which they break as they approach the shore. Waves may curve to erode a headland, and they can cause considerable erosion.

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