Oceanographers record largest-ever wave in southern hemisphere off New Zealand coast


The Meteorological Service of New Zealand (MetService) installed its solar-powered buoy in March. This week's storm featured a significant wave height of almost 15 meters, or 49 feet, another Southern Hemisphere record.

A wave rider buoy moored at Campbell Island off New Zealand's South Island registered the wave of 23.8 metres on Tuesday, Meteorological Metservice of New Zealand has said.

The readings from Tuesday. Either way, the wave blows the previous southern-hemisphere record, of 72 feet, out of the water.

The swell map showing the wave (the red dot is the buoy that picked up the reading).

Oceanographers and experts believe that the wave could have been generated by a deep low-pressure system, combined with high winds.

A buoy recorded the 80-foot wave, but Durrant said the storm likely created bigger waves in other locations. The wave measuring device only records for 20 minutes every three hours, meaning that there are large amounts of time when no measurements were taken.

The significant wave height for the Southern Ocean wave was 14.9 meters.

The record holder for waves worldwide, according to the World Meteorological Organization, is a 19-meter (62.3 feet) significant wave height measured by a buoy in the North Atlantic on February 4, 2013.

According to Durrant, the lack of land-based obstacles in the Southern Ocean makes it easier for a storm to move.

The largest ever wave was recorded was in 1958 in Alaska's Lituya Bay which was 30.5 metres which caused tsunami.

"Assuming climate models are correct about stronger storms, then we can expect bigger waves as well", Durrant said, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The wave snapped 1,700 trees but did not damage much property as there were a very few towns nearby.

Rodrigo Koxa recalls the day he rode the monster wave.