Dear Tom,
n the old movie, “The Perfect Storm,” a 100-foot ocean wave occurred. It such a massive wave even possible?
—Mill Eastbrook, Omaha, Neb.
Dear Mill,
One-hundred foot waves do indeed occur. Proof of their existence exists in videotapes and films taken from commercial and military ships. The generation of such huge waves requires the simultaneous occurrence of several events: High winds of 50 mph or stronger blowing over long stretches of water—at least a few hundred miles—for at least a few days. Other factors can contribute: High winds pushing waves against ocean currents, and cold air blowing across much warmer ocean water. All these conditions are on occasion satisfied on the world’s oceans, resulting in the generation of huge waves.