Why are there waves in the ocean?


Why are there waves in the ocean?

In: Physics

The vast majority of waves on the surface are created and driven by the winds, so ultimately these waves are solar powered, as it is the regional differences in the way the atmosphere heats up which lead to winds.

There are also tidal waves – I don’t mean tsunamis, but actual tides. The tides are effectively veeerrrrrry long wavelength waves which are due to the different gravitational effects the Earth experiences as it interacts with the Sun and Moon’s gravitational fields (mostly the Moon’s). There are two tidal bulges on opposite sides of the Earth at any one time.

Tsunamis are large waves which are generated by sudden changes in the seafloor which displace large volumes of water. This happens either from earthquakes or underwater landslides.

Then there are internal waves, which are due to water masses which have distinctly different densities. It is difficult for water of doffering density to mix together, but one way this can happen is via internal wave breaking, which works in a similar way to the way waves break at the surface.