Question about wave speed. Boating uses the term SOG, for speed over ground, to discount currents that affect speed (or knots) instruments. This question deals more with wave speed in the area that we surf in, as from takeoff, to shore, not open ocean.
I'm curious whether wave speed is similar or different, and if so , how much, in regards to coastal areas or island reefs. Around here, our bottom is mostly flat rock and bottom depths are similar but not exactly the same. There are breaks that are deeper water and some are relatively shallow.
I haven't surfed a coastal area in years, but it would seem from past experience that the wave speed toward shore would be slower than that of an island...because the wave is coming out of much shallower water, the coastal shelf ....?
(no, I didn't google wave speed, I'd rather see experts thoughts here )
The deep water wave speed, is where there is no action between the swells and the ocean bottom. This is any depth greater then half of the wavelength.
So, when the wave goes from the deep water depth to shallower water, it will start to interaction with the ocean bottom and slow down.
Also, wave speed increases as the wavelength (or wave period) increases.
To answer your question of comparing island waves to mainland waves, yes in generally you are correct, because there is a lack of continental shelf to slow down the swells. But, often times we are not comparing apples to apples, as swells on the East Coast are generally smaller wavelengths (period), then many island locations. So, consider both factors - ocean bottom drag, and the overall wavelength (period).
Last edited by SI_Admin; Mar 31, 2014 at 03:05 PM.
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