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Glossary of Oceanography Chapter 10

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The addition of wave energy as waves interact, producing larger waves
constructive interference
A wave of moving energy in which the wave form moves in one direction along the surface (or junction) of the transmission medium (or media).
progressive wave
A tiny wave with a wavelength of less than 1.73 centimeters (0.68 inch), whose restoring force is surface tension; the first type of wave to form when the wind blows
capillary wave
The dominant force trying to return water to flatness after formation of a wave
restoring force
The horizontal distance between two successive wave crests (or troughs) in a progressive wave
wavelength
If particle speed decreases with depth, molecules in the top half of the orbit will move farther forward in the direction the wave is moving than molecules in the bottom half of the orbit will move backward.
Stokes drift
The subtraction of wave energy as waves interact, producing smaller waves
destructive interference
Breaking wave in which the upper section topples forward and away from the bottom, forming an air-filled tube
plunging wave
Speed of advance of a wave train; for deep-water waves, half the speed of individual waves within the group
group velocity
Vertical distance between a wave crest and the adjacent wave troughs
wave height
Calculation for the speed of shallow water waves. C represents speed (celerity), g is acceleration due to gravity, and d is the depth of water in meters.
C=(squareroot (g * d)):
A wave with wavelength greater than 1. 73 centimeters (0.68 inch), whose restoring forces are gravity and momentum
gravity wave
A wave moving through water deeper than 1/20 but shallower than 1/2 its wavelength
transitional wave
Slowing and bending of progressive waves in shallow water
wave refraction
Addition or subtraction of wave energy as waves interact. Also called resonance. See also constructive interference; destructive interference
interference
The theoretical maximum height attainable by ocean waves given wind of a specific strength, duration, and fetch. Longer exposure to wind will not increase the size of the waves
fully developed sea
Bending of waves around obstacles
wave diffraction
Height-to-wavelength ratio of a wave. The theoretical maximum steepness of deep-water waves is 1:7
wave steepness
A wave in water shallower than 1/20 its wavelength
shallow-water wave
A breaking wave whose crest slides down the face of the wave
spilling wave
The region between the breaking waves and the shore
surf zone
In ocean waves, the circular pattern of water particle movement at the air-sea interface. Orbital motion contrasts with the side-to-side or back-and-forth motion of pure transverse or longitudinal waves
orbit
A wave in which water oscillates without causing progressive wave forward movement. There is no net transmission of energy in a standing wave
standing wave
The uninterrupted distance over which the wind blows without a significant change in direction, a factor in wind wave development
fetch
The pattern of constructive and destructive interference that causes successive breaking waves to grow, shrink, and grow again over a few minutes' time
surf beat
The length of time the wind blows over the ocean surface, a factor in wind wave development.
wind duration
The confused mass of agitated water rushing shoreward during and after a wind wave breaks
surf
Simultaneous wind waves of many wavelengths forming a chaotic ocean surface. Sea is common in an area of wind wave origin
sea
Gravity wave formed by transfer of wind energy into water. Wavelengths from 60 to 150 meters (200 to 500 feet) are most common in the open ocean
wind wave
Separation of wind waves by wavelength (and therefore wave speed) as they move away from the fetch (the place of their formation). Dispersion occurs because waves with long wavelengths move more rapidly than waves with short wavelengths
dispersion
A progressive wave under the continuing influence of the forces that formed it
forced wave
The valley between wave crests below the average water level in a progressive wave
wave trough
A progressive wave free of the forces that formed it
free wave
Disturbance caused by the movement of energy through a medium
wave
A group of waves of similar wavelength and period moving in the same direction across the ocean surface. The group velocity of a wave train is half the velocity of the individual waves
wave train
Mature wind waves of one wavelength that form orderly undulations of the ocean surface
swell
Highest part of a progressive wave above average water level
wave crest
Average speed of the wind, a factor in wind wave development.
wind strength
The reflection of progressive waves by a vertical barrier. Reflection occurs with little loss of energy
wave reflection
The number of waves passing a fixed point per second
wave frequency
Calculation for the speed of deep water waves. C represents speed (celerity), L is wavelength, and T is time.
C=L/T
A progressive wave in which particles of the medium move in closed circles
orbital wave
A progressive wave occurring at the boundary between liquids of different densities
internal wave
A single wave crest much higher than usual, caused by constructive interference
rogue wave
The energy that causes a wave to form
disturbing force