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Buoy measures record-breaking wave in the North Atlantic

"The new world record will be added to the official WMO archive of weather and climate extremes," said Randall Cerveny, joint rapporteur with the WMO.

By
Brooks Hays
Intense low pressure systems in the North Atlantic often produce tall, powerful open ocean waves. Photo by UPI/NASA
Intense low pressure systems in the North Atlantic often produce tall, powerful open ocean waves. Photo by UPI/NASA

GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Scientists with the World Meteorological Organization have finally confirmed a new world record for wave height. It took nearly four years.

In 2013, a buoy in the North Atlantic, between Iceland and the United Kingdom, measured a wave with a height of 62.3 feet. Almost four years later, researchers confirmed the legitimacy of the record.

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"The new world record will be added to the official WMO archive of weather and climate extremes which is being constantly updated and expanded thanks to continued improvements in instrumentation, technology and analysis," Randall Cerveny, joint rapporteur with WMO's World Records of Climate and Weather Extremes, said in a news release.

The wave was produced by an energetic cold front boasting wind gusts of 50.4 miles per hour.

The previous wave height record of 59.96 feet was also measured in the North Atlantic.

Wave height is measured as the difference between the crest of a wave and the trough of the subsequent wave, or peak-to-peak amplitude. The tallest open ocean waves in the world are generally found in North Atlantic, where wind and unique atmospheric pressure patterns combine to produce what are called "weather bombs," or extratropical cyclonic low-pressure areas.

Earlier this year, scientists determined that a North Atlantic weather bomb, or pressure bomb, was responsible for generating seismic waves that traveled through Earth's center and were measured by seismographs on the other side of the planet.

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