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No. 84: Nov-Dec 1992

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Atlantic Waves Getting Bigger

Above, we inserted a short, rather vague note on this phenomenon. We now have a bit more to report, although no one seems to have any answers.

"The North Atlantic is getting rougher -- much rougher. In the mid-1980s average waves in the ocean were 25 per cent higher than during the 1960s. More recent studies show that by the end of the 1980s the tops of the waves were 50 per cent higher, as measured by both instruments and estimated by sailors.

"The cause of the increasing choppiness of the waters of the North Atlantic is unclear. Waves are whipped up by strong winds, yet there has been no corresponding increase in wind speeds. [S.] Bacon believes that a clue may lie in the persistence of winds from a certain direction."

(Anonymous; "Making Waves in the North Atlantic," New Scientist, p. 10, August 29, 1992.)

From Science Frontiers #84, NOV-DEC 1992. � 1992-2000 William R. Corliss