Chapter

The Energy of Ocean Waves

E. C. Pielou

in The Energy of Nature

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780226668062
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226668055 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226668055.003.0007
The Energy of Ocean Waves

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At any one moment, the energy in waves in the whole world ocean is only about one-third as great as the energy in currents. All the same, waves are more visible than currents, and they display the ocean's enormous energy much more vividly. Waves vary in many ways. They vary in what causes them to form and grow and in what makes them die out and disappear. They vary in size and also in period, the time it takes for one wave crest to succeed another at a given point. This chapter discusses the following wave types: wind waves (ripples, “ordinary” waves, and swells); internal waves, below the surface of the water; tsunamis, which are usually, but not always, caused by earthquakes; and solitary waves, whose solitariness puts them in a class by themselves.

Keywords: wave energy; ocean currents; wind waves; internal waves; solitary waves; tsunamis

Chapter.  6389 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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