Wavechasers and the Samoan Passage

Matthew Alford, University of Washington and Jennifer Isenhart, Wide Eye Productions

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 break and produce strong turbulence underwater. Understanding these deep waves and flows is critical to understanding more about the Earth's climate and can help to improve climate models. The team is still chasing waves: they now know where the waves start, but they are still searching for where they end up.

This video came in first place in the inaugural Ocean 180 Video Challenge in 2014, hosted by the Florida Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE Florida). Scientists were challenged to bring their latest research papers to life in a short video that not only summarizes their important findings but also highlights the relevance, meaning, and implications of the research to people outside of their area of study. Submitted videos were reviewed by a panel of scientists and communication experts, but the final winners were selected by a diverse (and often very critical!) group of potential future ocean scientists–6th to 8th grade students from classrooms around the world.