Synopses & Reviews
Waves are hypnotic and beautiful. They can also be great fun. But Hurricanes Katrina and Rita taught us that they can be powerful and deadly while the 2004 tsunami proved that some waves are absolutely devastating. Science is the best tool for understanding and predicting the most extreme waves. Where do waves come from? Why are some big and some small? From winter to summer, the nature of the beach changes, sculpted by the tireless energy of waves. Most waves are simply rhythmic expressions of Earth's movement through space and the changes they bring to our shorelines are gradual. But given the right weather conditions and combination of natural forces, waves can wreak havoc. These are extreme waves, waves that can stretch 100-feet high posing an imminent threat to large sea vessels and coastal structures. There are even waves that have stripped trees from mountains as they surged to an estimated 1,700 feet high. But even smaller waves are dangerous to ships and coastlines. Indeed, the lessons of the 2004 Bay of Bengal tsunami and the damage wrought by recent tidal surges in New Orleans underscore the need for better tracking and prediction of extreme waves. Extreme Waves is a fascinating history of waves. Covering both the headline stories as well as incidents that are less well-known but equally startling Craig Smith, author and amateur sailor, will have you riveted from the first chapter to the last.
"Smith, a sailor and author of How the Great Pyramid Was Built, intersperses occasionally dry explanations of the complex physics of waves with harrowing tales of modern-day maritime tragedies. He enumerates the many natural forces that create waves: the moon's gravity pulls on the oceans; Earth's rotation pushes them; the sun heats them; the wind tugs against their surface; earthquakes displace them. The resulting waves can propagate from one side of the ocean to the other: waves from one storm race outward to interact with waves from another, converging ocean currents force them even higher or flatten them out completely. The complexity of waves staggers the imagination. In modern times, Smith says, with the importance of shipping and the growth of off-shore drilling platforms, understanding waves is more vital than ever we must especially understand extreme, or rogue, waves that can appear out of nowhere and tower over a hundred feet high. In a chapter on the 2004 tsunami, Smith recounts the harrowing experience of two scuba divers caught in the maelstrom and suggests California could be at risk for a future tsunami. Science is only beginning to understand tsunamis, hurricanes and rogue waves, and Smith's book is for readers who want a serious scientific look at what we're learning. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this fascinating history of extreme ocean waves, Smith covers such headline stories as the 2004 tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as incidents that are less well-known but equally startling.
"Extreme Waves" is a fascinating history of waves. Covering both the headline stories as well as incidents that are less well-known but equally startling Craig Smith, author and amateur sailor, will have you riveted from the first chapter to the last.