Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. 8-9

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

...Some of my best memories of Hawaii are of watching the surfers at the Banzai Pipeline, on the north shore of Oahu. In the months between November and January, waves 10 meters (m) high or more roll in majestically, curl, and break with awesome power. These waves draw a dedicated band of top- flight surfers...

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1 A Walk along the Beach

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pp. 1-9

...We can learn a lot about ocean waves just by looking. So before we become immersed in the intricacies of waves, let’s just stroll along the shore and comment on what we see. It’s a nice, sunny day, without much wind: a perfect day for the beach. As we look out to sea...

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2 What Exactly Is a Wave?

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pp. 10-28

...Everybody knows what a wave is. At least, we recognize one when we see it. When asked to imagine a wave, most people think of ocean waves, those majestic waves that roll steadily toward the shore or the chaotic waves in a stormy sea. Most people also know that other kinds of waves exist: light...

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3 How the Wind Generates Ocean Waves

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pp. 29-44

...At first blush there seems to be nothing mysterious about the way wind generates ocean waves. Ask a bright high school student, and he will tell you how it happens. The wind pushes little dimples in the water, and little waves run away from them. These little waves give the wind a better grip on the...

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4 A Touch of Reality: How Big Waves Behave

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pp. 45-58

...If you have ever been at sea during a gale, you will never forget the awesome power of the great wind- driven waves. They rise majestically, foaming and spitting spume. They sweep by, pitching you into the deep troughs. Each one seems taller than the next, and each one threatens to overwhelm your puny ship...

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5 Observations at Sea: The Postwar Boom

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pp. 59-79

...If you were the captain of a ship crossing the North Atlantic during World War II, you depended on your experience of the sea to survive. In winter the gales were ferocious, and the waves could easily top 10 m in height. In subzero temperatures, the seas breaking over the deck would freeze instantly and...

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6 Forecasting and Monitoring Storm Waves

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pp. 80-103

...Storms at sea, and the violent waves they produce, have terrorized seamen since they first ventured onto the oceans millennia ago. Until recently, only the wisdom of ships’ captains, built from many years of battling the seas and experiencing the wrath of the capricious waves, provided any help in surviving these storms. Since the 1930s, meteorologists have been able...

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7 Breaking Waves

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pp. 104-121

Peahi Beach, on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii, is famous for some of the largest breaking waves in the world. Several times each winter, storms near Alaska produce swells that cruise thousands of kilometers to crash as surf at Maui. About half a kilometer offshore lies a deepwater reef, and when a 10-m swell hits the reef, the waves rise to heights of 20 m and more...

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8 Freaks and Rogues

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pp. 122-141

...“It’s got us, boys!” Ernest Shackleton screamed. He and fi ve crewmen were in a 20- foot lifeboat in the midst of an Antarctic gale, on a desperate 800-mile voyage. Now they were in mortal danger, tossed in mountainous seas and freezing in the icy Antarctic storm. In 1915 Shackleton had led a 23-man crew on an expedition to be the first to reach the South Pole for the glory of England....

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9 Tsunamis

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pp. 142-157

...On December 26, 2004, at 7:58 a.m., the third largest earthquake ever recorded by seismographs occurred 160 km off the northeast coast of the island of Sumatra. The earthquake was rated between magnitude 9.1 and 9.3 and broke the record for duration: 8 to 10 minutes. Seismologists determined that...

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10 Internal Waves and El Niño

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pp. 158-176

...Thus far we have discussed ocean waves that are easily visible at the surface. But there is another kind of wave that, although predicted 70 years ago, remained undetected until recently. These “internal waves” propagate on the thermocline, the narrow boundary between the warm surface layer of the ocean and the cold deeper waters. They cause barely a ripple...

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11 The Tides

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pp. 177-193

...That was Brutus speaking in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The bard knew full well how the image of the tide resonates in the minds of men. For people who lived by the sea, as Englishmen did, the tides were an ever-present factor in their lives. Sailors and fi shermen depended on their knowledge of the tides to survive and prosper. Twice a day a mighty wave rolls...

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12 The Currents

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pp. 194-199

...So far we have been discussing the different kinds of waves that exist in and on the oceans of the world. Our story would not be complete, however, without some mention of the large, per sis tent currents that plow through the oceans. We know some of them by name— the Gulf Stream, for example. In this short chapter we’ll touch on the global system of currents that...

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13 Ship Waves

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pp. 200-215

...If you’ve ever taken an exhilarating ride in a speedboat, you probably remember how the boat churned up waves as it muscled its way through the water. There were waves that rolled off diagonally to left and right from the bow, as well as those that created a foaming “rooster tail” at the stern. If you...

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14 Renewable Energy from Waves and Tides

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pp. 216-231

...On September 24, 2008, a group of engineers gathered on the beach at Acuçadoura, Portugal, to watch three strange devices 5 km offshore. They were the latest versions of the Pelamis wave energy converter. Over the preceding year the team had struggled to develop a reliable means of tethering the machines to the seabed 30 m below. At last the scheme was working, and the three Pelamis units were ready for a final trial. The engineers...

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15 The Future

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pp. 232-234

...In the preceding chapters we have seen wave research develop to the point that reliable daily forecasts of wave heights and periods over the whole globe are readily available. Much progress has been made in understanding wave and current dynamics in the nearshore environment. Rogue waves are still not predictable, but we have come a long way toward understanding where...

Glossary

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pp. 235-238

Index

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pp. 239-248