92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 4:45 PM
Sneaker Waves: The State of Understanding and Art of Forecasting
Room 337 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Brian Garcia, NOAA/NWS, Eureka, CA; and T. Nicolini

Known by different names throughout the nation, sneaker waves can pose a significant hazard to ocean beach goers. While sneaker waves are more common along the west coast of continents with large upstream fetch, they can occur on any seaboard under ideal conditions. Sneaker waves refer to the set behavior of wave activity and how those sets can intrude much further up the beach than the ambient wave system. These can catch unsuspecting beach goers off guard with potential fatal consequences. Along the west coast of the United States, several sneaker wave events have been documented over the last number of years, with isolated events resulting in the loss of life. Empirical data sequestered over the course of these events has led to advancements in the science of prediction of sneaker waves. While there remains significant science to sort out for detailed prediction, strides are being made to bring the knowledge known now into operations for the protection of life and property. National Weather Service, Western Region Forecast Office, Eureka, CA is pushing the bounds of sneaker wave understanding by taking the known and attempting to adapt it to operations, while continuing to nudge the bounds of the science.

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