From Discovery: “Huge, Slow-Moving ‘Internal’ Waves Wreak Havoc”


Discovery News
Discovery News

Feb 6, 2015

Oceanographer Rob Pinkel unpacked crates of scientific instruments this week aboard the 272-foot research vessel Falkor while docked in the port of Hobart, on the island of Tasmania. He checked the weather and made preparations along with several dozen other scientific crew members to hunt for an elusive ocean phenomenon, massive “internal waves” that are born on the tidal straits of New Zealand, chug across the Tasman Sea, and bounce off the coastline of Tasmania.


“We are expecting to see a large wave in the interior of the Tasman Sea crossing and hitting the slopes of Tasmania,” said Pinkel, a physical oceanographer from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “We have some specialized instruments that can see what’s going on in a pretty fast time scale.”

Compared to fast-moving, wind-driven surface waves, internal waves are lumbering giants that can grow to more than 2,000 feet high…

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