Surf’s up in the Southern Ocean.
A massive, 64-foot high wave was measured by an automated buoy about 400 miles south of New Zealand in the Southern Ocean on Saturday. That’s taller than a six-story building.
(From USA TODAY / By Doyle Rice ) — “This is one of the largest waves recorded in the Southern Hemisphere,” said oceanographer Tom Durrant of MetOcean Solutions, a private weather firm in New Zealand. “This is the world’s southernmost wave buoy moored in the open ocean, and we are excited to put it to the test in large seas,” he wrote on the company’s blog.
The buoy was installed only three months ago to “get valuable observations from this remote part of the ocean,” the company said. The wild winds, seas and storms of the Southern Ocean create some of the biggest waves in the world.
“Southern Ocean waves are described by sailors as ‘liquid Himalayas’ and remain largely unstudied, including our ability to forecast them,” said researcher Sally Garrett of the New Zealand Defence Force, shortly after the buoy was launched.
“Accurate measurements of these conditions will help us understand waves and air-sea interactions in these extreme conditions,” Durrant said, referring to the new buoy. “This, in turn, will lead to improvements in the models used to simulate the waves, providing better forecasts, both for the Southern Ocean and for the wider region.”