Forecasting Tutorial: Wave Period Explained

4 Dec 2012 0

Wave period is the distance between two waves passing through a stationary point, measured in seconds.

Wave period is the distance between two waves passing through a stationary point, measured in seconds.

Understanding The Magic Number

At Coastalwatch we often receive emails with questions about our surf forecasts. Here, Chief Swell Forecaster Ben Macartney explains how Swell Period affects surf quality and answers a reader question: Which is better, long period or short period swells?

When it comes reading forecast graphs, swell period is definitely the magic number. Indeed, for a forecaster, explaining the implications of swell period is a bit like the birds and the bees – of surfing. The basic definition is as follows: Swell period is a measure of the time, in seconds, between successive wave crests (or troughs) passing through a stationary point. 

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