Waves & Storms

Waves come in all shapes and sizes—from small ones calmly lapping on the shore to large rogue waves out at sea. Storms interact with the ocean on the surface, from hurricanes to tsunamis.

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How should you prepare for a hurricane? Students from Bay High School in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi--who were participating in the Third Student Summit on the Ocean & Coasts --created this instructional video to...
Hurricane Katrina battered the city of New Orleans and many other areas of the...
From the water, red mangroves appear to form an impenetrable tangle of roots,...
At the entrance of most beaches, there is a bulletin board with notices about...

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Large waves are a draw for surfers, scientists and spectators alike to locations around the world. Changes to the coast and ocean floor as well as sediment flow can change the nature of a wave as it reaches shore. So when three...
Watch as a team of wave chasers heads to Somoa where they search for an...
When hurricanes blow through an area, they don’t just have an impact on...

DIVE DEEPER

I became interested in weather phenomena when I took physics in high school. At the time, I just wanted to understand how...
The ocean moves in many ways, one of which is the shape of a wave.
I became interested in weather phenomena when I took physics in high school. At the time, I just wanted to understand how various things in nature worked. Unfortunately, most information about...
Using maps and graphics, Smithsonian geologist Dr. Liz Cottrell provides an overview of the major earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011—one of the largest ever recorded globally...
Large waves are a draw for surfers, scientists and spectators alike to locations around the world. Changes to the coast and ocean floor as well as sediment flow can change the nature of a wave as it...
Hurricane Katrina battered the city of New Orleans and many other areas of the Gulf Coast when it came ashore in August 2005. Dr. Isaac Ginis, a Professor of Oceanography at The University of Rhode...
Even when viewed from space, Hurricane Irene looks sizable. When a NASA satellite took this image on August 23, 2011 the storm was 410 miles in diameter, with clouds covering eastern Cuba. Irene is...
From the water, red mangroves appear to form an impenetrable tangle of roots, trunks, and leaves—a protective barrier against storms and tsunamis. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves...
At the entrance of most beaches, there is a bulletin board with notices about water conditions: maybe a faded sign warning about rip currents and a list of this week's tide tables. Most people pass...
Geophysicist Jian Lin of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and chief U.S. scientist aboard the Chinese oceanographic ship DaYang Yihao studied the earthquake site that triggered 2004’s Indian...
Tsunamis, giant waves caused by underwater earthquakes, speed across the ocean at 400 miles per hour. Early warning systems, such as NOAA’s DART systems, are key to saving lives. Today, 47 DART...
But what path, precisely, did this pumice take to reach Belize from the Guatemalan Highlands? Maps of drainage networks that reach the Gulf of Honduras and currents in the western Caribbean Sea are...
Dr. Isaac Ginis presented "Eye on the Storm: Predicting a Hurricane's Path of Destruction", in October 2010. This second installment of the Changing Tides lecture series featured Dr. Isaac Ginis, a...
What do you get when you mix together a hurricane, the remnants of a wintry midwestern storm, and cold Arctic air? The " Frankenstorm ," which is what the US National Weather Service renamed...
This map shows volcanoes of Central America and within the Caribbean Sea. The red triangles represent volcanoes known to have erupted in recent time (within the last 10,000 years) and white stars are...
Orange shaded areas are major drainage basins of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras that contribute sediment to the Caribbean. Wind and current patterns are represented by red and black arrows,...
Since 1902, more than 40 centimeters of mangrove peat could have accumulated at the Belize site, enough to entrap and bury small pieces of pumice. But Juan’s vexing questions persisted: Why hadn’t...
Dr. Isaac Ginis, an expert in hurricane modeling from The University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, is the second featured speaker in Changing Tides: A Series of Ocean Discussions...
Robotic gliders allow researchers to collect data in severe weather conditions without risking lives. In 2009 Hurricane Bill passed to the north during the Scarlet Knight’s mission, producing large...
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