Tuesday 20 August 2019

World's largest wave recorded off the coast between Ireland and Iceland

Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle rides a huge wave, near Nazare on Portugal's Atlantic coast in 2013 CREDIT: AP
Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle rides a huge wave, near Nazare on Portugal's Atlantic coast in 2013 CREDIT: AP
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The world's largest wave has been recorded off the coast between Ireland, the UK and Iceland.

The giant 19-metre wall of water was registered by a bouy in the North Atlantic between the north coast and Iceland.

The wave smashed the previous record holder - one of 18.275 metres (59.96ft) measured in the North Atlantic in December 2007.

Taller than a six-storey building, the wave occurred after a "very strong" cold front had barrelled through the area, producing winds up of 43.8 knots (50.4 miles an hour).

The WMO Commission for Climatology’s Extremes Evaluation Committee classified it as “the highest significant wave height as measured by a buoy”.

"This is the first time we have ever measured a wave of 19 metres. It is a remarkable record,” said WMO Assistant Secretary-General Wenjian Zhang.

"We need high quality and extensive ocean records to help in our understanding of weather/ocean interactions," Mr Zhang told the Telegraph.

"Despite the huge strides in satellite technology, the sustained observations and data records from moored and drifting buoys and ships still play a major role in this respect."

The North Atlantic, from the Grand Banks underwater plateau off Canada to the south of Iceland and the west of Britain, creates more giant waves than anywhere else in the world.

During winter, wind circulation and atmospheric pressure cause intense extratropical storms, which are often dubbed "bombs", the WMO said.

The wave's height is defined as the distance from the crest of one wave to the trough of the next.

The UN agency occasionally reveals quirky weather-related milestones, such as its recent finding that a lightning flash in France in August 2012 was the longest-lasting bolt ever recorded.

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