7 1/2 Story Wave Reported Off California Coast - Nor Cal wave report / peak wave record?

According to the article this is the largest wave ever recorded by a buoy this close to land for that area. I can’t access the charts on my internet to see if this would be considered a wave or a swell or how far apart the crests were but I feel sorry for any small boaters who were dumb enough to be out in that.

For those of us who have transited thru that area this is not hard to believe.


From your experience in that area, do local mariners call them swells or waves? Is it ship flipping over weather or the big slow elevator rides up & down?

In the recent story “Monster 74-Foot Wave” some records were shared about peak historic waves. Was the quoted waves some specific type?

There are documented waves way bigger than in this story, what gives?
FA platform wave @ 155 feet
MS Bremen wave @ 115 feet
Queen Mary wave @ 92 feet
QE2 wave @ 89 feet
Draupner wave @ 85 feet

Just curious?

Source: and also great data on linear wave model vs. quantum


Except as he pointed out himself in a pinned comment, he got the quantum stuff wrong – quantum doesn’t work on a macro scale.

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Wave period was fourteen seconds (21 in five minutes) if that helps.

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What gives is that this wave was only 20 miles off the coast, and the only larger one reported by the buoy system was 800 miles off the coast.

The wave wasn’t large enough to qualify as a rogue wave regardless whether the “average” quoted in the story was actually the significant wave height rather than a straight average.

Swells, generally. If you look at marine forecasts for california, they break the sea prediction down to swell and wind waves with a period. Usually if the wind is cranking, they’ll say combined seas with a ‘dominant’ period.

“…sw swell 4-7 ft @16 seconds. Wind waves 2-3 ft…w to nw wind 10-15kts …”

“…n to nw wind 20-30 kts with occasional gusts to 40 kts combined seas 10-12 ft dominant period 12 seconds…”

I’ll gladly take 10-12 ft on the west coast instead of in the gulf of mexico. 10-12 in the gulf is like being inside 20 ft whitecaps on the west coast!


From gCaptain post:

The storm that impacted the California coast last week generated some of the largest waves ever recorded by CDIP buoys. At Cape Mendocino, CDIP staton 094, the significant wave height was 13m/43ft and the largest wave measured was 22.7m/74.4ft!

The article from SF Gate linked in the OP used the term average but it was in fact SWH.

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During this particular storm dbeierl quoted them coming every 14 seconds, 21 every 5 minutes. Those aren’t the big slow Pacific offshore swells that I know & I defiantly wouldn’t want to ride in that elevator. Unless it’s for a short period of time to get into harbor of course.

Cape mendocino and adjacent waters are known for having shitty seas where it is nice elsewhere…its often breezy. This last front that rolled thru only intensified it probably because of the change of wind direction that came along with the system…even close to the beach you are in kind of a remote location…sf and eureka would be the nearest deep water ports and present their own challenges even in moderate weather.

Happened two weeks ago.

The nonlinear schrödinger equation

It seems that the connection to the quantum stuff is that rouge waves can be modeled using NLSE. From what I gather quantum mechanics uses the linear variant.

In quantum mechanics, the 1D NLSE is a special case of the classical nonlinear Schrödinger field, which in turn is a classical limit of a quantum Schrödinger field. Conversely, when the classical Schrödinger field is canonically quantized, it becomes a quantum field theory (which is linear, despite the fact that it is called ″quantum nonlinear Schrödinger equation″)

In quantum mechanics the nonlinear Schrodinger field is linear despite the fact it is called nonlinear. Go figure.

The low pressure with “warm seclusion” system that produced the measured large swell was forecast to also possibly produce a sting jet, and actually may have.

Those waverider buoys are supposed to be very accurate, but I wonder if there is a practical limit to what they can measure.

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