Ocean Waves

New feature released today: Ocean Waves. Updated every three hours. Includes two layers,
New feature released today: Ocean Waves. Updated every three hours. Includes two layers, “significant wave height” and “peak wave period”, plus a new type of particle animation.
earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/primary/waves/overlay=significant_wave_height
“Significant wave height” is the average height of the highest 1/3 of waves at a particular point in the ocean. There’s a great writeup here describing what this means: http://www.vos.noaa.gov/MWL/apr_06/waves.shtml
“Peak wave period” is the (inverse) frequency of the most energetic waves passing through a particular point, whether wind generated or swells. Certainly, there are many more groups of waves moving through an area, each in different directions, but trying to show them all rapidly becomes complex. Instead, we show the one wave group contributing the most energy. This has the effect, though, of creating “boundaries” between regions of ocean where the #1 wave group suddenly switches to second place. Often these boundaries represent swell fronts, but other times they are just artifacts of the ranking mechanism.
Data comes from NCEP’s WAVEWATCH III model. Much more detailed information regarding these terms is available on their website: polar.ncep.noaa.gov/waves/index2.shtml
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