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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We all know that hurricanes can have destructive effects on human communities and infrastructure—but what about their effects on coastal wetlands? Until Hurricane Katrina, no one had ever mapped hurricane-caused land loss in Louisiana,...
This image shows four tropical storm systems in the Atlantic Ocean basin on...
Using maps and graphics, Smithsonian geologist Dr. Liz Cottrell provides an...
Dr. Isaac Ginis presented "Eye on the Storm: Predicting a Hurricane's Path of...

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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...

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I became interested in weather phenomena when I took physics in high school. At the time, I just wanted to understand how...
A tsunami is a set of waves created by a disturbance, likely an earthquake, which reaches the surface of the sea.
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...
This image shows four tropical storm systems in the Atlantic Ocean basin on September 8, 2011. In this arresting image you can see Maria, Katia, Nate, and Lee--all four storm systems--in one NOAA...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
The ocean moves in many ways, one of which is the shape of a wave.
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...
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...
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...
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...
Watch as a team of wave chasers heads to Somoa where they search for an undersea river five kilometers beneath the ocean's surface. There they measured skyscraper-sized internal gravity waves, which...
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