Colossal Wave Rolls Through North Atlantic, Shattering Previous Record


A massive wave in the North Atlantic near Scotland has set a new world record for the tallest ever measured by a buoy, the World Meteorological Organization said.

The giant, picked up back in February of 2013 by an automated buoy between Iceland and the United Kingdom, measured 62.3 feet ― significantly larger than the previous record of 59.96 feet measured in December 2007, also in the North Atlantic. 

WMO Assistant Secretary-General Wenjian Zhang described the new record, announced publicly in a press release Tuesday, as “remarkable.” 

“This is the first time we have ever measured a wave of 19 meters,” Zhang said in a statement. “It highlights the importance of meteorological and ocean observations and forecasts to ensure the safety of the global maritime industry and to protect the lives of crew and passengers on busy shipping lanes.”

The wave occurred following a “very strong cold front” that generated 50 mph winds, WMO said. The highest waves are typically found during winter in the North Atlantic. 

A WMO committee classified it as “the highest significant wave height as measured by a buoy.” 

Wave height is the distance from the crest of one wave to the trough of the next, according to the organization. Significant wave height is “the average of the highest one-third of waves measured by an instrument.”

Although huge, the record falls far short of the largest wave ever surfed ― a 78-foot behemoth conquered by Garrett McNamara at Nazaré, Portugal, in 2011. 



Amazing Waves