Waves Characteristics of Ocean Water - QS Study
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Waves Characteristics of Ocean Water

Waves are most commonly caused by wind. Waves are actually the energy, not the water as such, which moves across the ocean surface. Water particles only travel in a small circle as a wave passes. Wind provides energy to the waves. Wind causes waves to travel in the ocean and the energy is released on shorelines. The motion of the surface water seldom affects the stagnant deep bottom water of the oceans.

Waves are disturbances that travel through a fluid medium. Several common wave characteristics include frequency, period, wavelength, and amplitude. There are two main type of waves, transverse waves, and longitudinal waves.

Characteristics of Waves

  • Wave crest and trough: The highest and lowest points of a wave are called the crest and trough respectively.
  • Wave height: It is the vertical distance from the bottom of a trough to the top of a crest of a wave.
  • Wave amplitude: It is one-half of the wave height. They are actually the energy, not the water as such, which moves across the ocean surface.
  • Wave period: It is merely the time interval between two successive wave crests or troughs as they pass a fixed point.
  • Wavelength: It is the horizontal distance between two successive crests.
  • Wave speed: It is the rate at which the wave moves through the water, and is measured in knots.
  • Wave frequency: It is the number of waves passing a given point during a one-second time interval.