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Understanding Waves

Weather forecasts frequently include predictions of wave heights. How are waves measured? A waveís peak is the gap between the lowest of its trough and the pinnacle of its crest.

Boaters fast study that when a wave height range is forecastósay, 2- to 4-footersóthereís a very sensible distinction among the two extremes: hope for the smaller but be organized for the larger! And understand that waves can quickly grow larger in storms. Less often mentioned is steepness: the ratio between the wave top and the gap (or time) between crests. The closer together, the steeper waves areóand frequently the extra difficult to boaters.

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