Record ocean waves are recorded

April 3, 2006

British scientists report observing some of the largest waves ever measured -- reportedly so big, some computer models indicate they shouldn't even exist.

The observations occurred Feb. 8, 2000, aboard the Royal Research Ship Discovery during a scientific expedition to the North Atlantic, 155 miles west of Scotland, when a series of gigantic waves hammered the vessel.

The scientists set to sea because an intense storm was forecast and the researchers from Britain's National Oceanography Center, located in Southampton, wanted to closely observe it, der Spiegel reported.

The scientists' measuring instruments showed the tallest of the waves was nearly 98 feet high and the giant waves shook the ship for 12 hours, said Naomi Holliday, the leader of the expedition.

The Discovery's crew witnessed waves of up to 95 feet from trough to crest -- the highest waves ever measured by a scientific instrument on the open sea, according to an article the scientists published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The new data may be troubling for shipbuilders, said der Spiegel, since the scientists' data suggest giant waves may be much more common than has been thought.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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