By: Maddie Hadorn

What is a wave?

A wave is the movement of energy through a body of water.
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Can waves be different sizes?

Waves start in the open ocean. The size of the wave depends on the strength of the wind and on the length of time it blows. A gentle breeze creates small ripples on the surface of the water. Stronger winds create larger waves. The size of a wave also depends on the distance over which the wind blows.

Wave height

The lowest part of the wave is the trough. The vertical distance from the crest to the trough is the wave height. The energy and strength of a wave depend mainly on the wave height. In the open ocean, most waves are 2 and 5 meters high. During storms, waves can much higher and more powerful.

Wave length

The horizontal distance between crests is the wavelength. Long, rolling waves with lots of space between crests have long wavelengths. Short, choppy waves have shorter wavelengths.