A Record Breaking Storm Hits the Southern Ocean


Photo Courtesy of MNN.com

A record breaking storm hit the Southern Ocean and produced what was determined as the largest wave ever to be recorded in the Southern Hemisphere on May 9, 2018, according to MNN.com.

On the evening of the storm, a weather marker anchored near Campbell Island, a vacant subantarctic island of New Zealand, recorded a wave measuring 23.8 meters during the passage of a quick-developing, low-pressure cell storm. The measurement significantly beat the previous record for the wave height in the Southern Hemisphere which had a measurement of 19.4 meters in 2017, stated MNN.com.

“The Southern Ocean is a unique ocean basic and is the least studied despite occupying 22% of the global area,” stated Senior Oceanographer, Dr. Tom Durrant of MetOcean Solutions. “The persistent and energetic wind conditions here create enormous fetch for wave growth, making the Southern Ocean the engine room for generating small waves that then propagate throughout the planet — indeed surfers in California can expect energy from the storm to arrive at their shores in about a weeks time!”

Surprisingly, the wave from the evening of the 9th was likely not the largest. Since the buoy is solar-powered, it only has enough power to study ocean conditions for only 20 minutes every three hours.

“It is likely that the peak heights during this storm were actually much higher, with individual waves greater than 25 meters being possible as the wave forecast for the storm show larger wave conditions just north of the buoy location,” stated Durrant, reported MNN.com.

The storm was classified as “a significant wave height” of 14.9 meters, which is the Word Meteorological Organisation (WMO) standard for measuring the tendency of the ocean, and alters the average height of the highest third of measured waves, according to sciencealert.com.

In the Western Hemisphere, there also have been a couple of unforgettable storms such as Hurricane Aletta, which occurred off of the coast of Mexico.