Is it possible for an ocean wave to be 100 feet high?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
Is it possible for an ocean wave to be 100 feet high? I just saw “The Perfect Storm” — was it movie fantasy or can it occur?
—Deb Billonmetti
Dear Deb,
One-hundred foot waves do indeed occur. Proof of the existence of massive waves exists in the form of videotapes and films taken from commercial and military ships actually encountering such monsters.
The generation of such huge waves requires the simultaneous occurrence of several events: High winds, 50 mph or stronger, blowing over long fetches of water (at least a few hundred miles) for at least a few days. Other conditions can contribute: High winds pushing waves against ocean currents, and cold air blowing over warm ocean water. All these conditions are on occasion satisfied on the world’s oceans.

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