Extreme Waves

Extreme Waves

by Craig B. Smith, Kurt Mueller
     
 

Waves are hypnotic and beautiful. They can also be great fun. But Hurricanes Katrina and Rita taught us that they can be powerful and deadly while the 2004 tsunami proved that some waves are absolutely devastating. Science is the best tool for understanding and predicting the most extreme waves. Where do waves come from? Why are some big and some small? From winter to… See more details below

Overview

Waves are hypnotic and beautiful. They can also be great fun. But Hurricanes Katrina and Rita taught us that they can be powerful and deadly while the 2004 tsunami proved that some waves are absolutely devastating. Science is the best tool for understanding and predicting the most extreme waves. Where do waves come from? Why are some big and some small? From winter to summer, the nature of the beach changes, sculpted by the tireless energy of waves. Most waves are simply rhythmic expressions of Earth's movement through space and the changes they bring to our shorelines are gradual. But given the right weather conditions and combination of natural forces, waves can wreak havoc. These are extreme waves, waves that can stretch 100-feet high—posing an imminent threat to large sea vessels and coastal structures. There are even waves that have stripped trees from mountains as they surged to an estimated 1,700 feet high. But even smaller waves are dangerous to ships and coastlines. Indeed, the lessons of the 2004 Bay of Bengal tsunami and the damage wrought by recent tidal surges in New Orleans underscore the need for better tracking and prediction of extreme waves. Extreme Waves is a fascinating history of waves. Covering both the headline stories as well as incidents that are less well-known but equally startling Craig Smith, author and amateur sailor, will have you riveted from the first chapter to the last.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Smith, a sailor and author of How the Great Pyramid Was Built, intersperses occasionally dry explanations of the complex physics of waves with harrowing tales of modern-day maritime tragedies. He enumerates the natural forces that create waves: the moon's gravity pulls on the oceans; Earth's rotation pushes them; the sun heats them; the wind tugs against their surface; and earthquakes displace them. The resulting waves can propagate from one side of the ocean to the other. Waves from one storm race outward to interact with waves from another, while converging ocean currents force them even higher or flatten them out completely. The complexity of it beggars the imagination. In modern times, Smith says, with the importance of shipping and the growth of off-shore drilling platforms, understanding waves is more vital than ever-we must especially understand extreme, or rogue, waves that seem to appear out of nowhere and tower over 100 feet high. In a chapter on the 2004 tsunami, Smith recounts the harrowing experience of two scuba divers caught in the maelstrom and suggests California could be at risk for a future tsunami. Science is only beginning to understand tsunamis, hurricanes and rogue waves, and Smith's book is for readers who want a serious scientific look at what we're learning. Illus. (Nov. 27) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Smith, an experienced engineer and ocean sailor, covers the physics of waves and the effect on people of "extreme waves," those "greater than 2.2 to 2.4 times the significant wave." He focuses on the effects of these waves in the open ocean as well as on their near-shore effects, as with tsunamis and hurricanes. The latter have been extensively covered in such works as Horace M. Karling's Tsunamis: The Great Wave and Kerry Emanuel's Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes. Smith's book is broader; he is accurate in his physics, and his interwoven stories are fascinating, detailing surfers towed out to 70' waves, the Sydney-Hobart sailing race, solo sailing, incredible sea rescues, and the loss of large cargo ships to earthquake, volcano, and storm effects both at sea and on coasts. Research on tracking and prediction is also discussed. Recommended for academic and public libraries, particularly in coastal areas. (Plates, illustrations, and index not seen.) Jean E. Crampon, Science & Engineering Lib., Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780309100625
Publisher:
National Academies Press
Publication date:
09/25/2006
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >