We came across this little gem. A little dated but the record still stands! 62.3 foot waves in the North Atlantic sets new record!

An expert committee convened by the World Meteorological Organization has established a new world record significant wave height of a massive 19 meters (62.3 feet!) measured by a buoy in the North Atlantic.

NOAA chart dated February 4, 2013 showing a significant wave height of 17 meters.
NOAA chart dated February 4, 2013 showing a significant wave height of 17 meters.

The wave was recorded February 4, 2013 by an automated buoy in the North Atlantic ocean between Iceland and the United Kingdom at approximately 59° N, 11° W. The agency said the wave followed the passage of a very strong cold front, which produced winds of up to 43.8 knots (50.4 miles per hour) over the area.

Keep in mind wave the term “significant wave height” means the average of the highest one-third of waves, so individual waves could be much higher!

The WMO Commission for Climatology’s Extremes Evaluation Committee, with scientists from Great Britain, Canada, the United States of America and Spain, classified the new record as “the highest significant wave height as measured by a buoy”.

NOAA chart dated February 4, 2013 showing a significant wave height of 17 meters.

“This is the first time we have ever measured a wave of 19 meters. It is a remarkable record,” said WMO Assistant Secretary-General Wenjian Zhang. “It highlights the importance of meteorological and ocean observations and forecasts to ensure the safety of the global maritime industry and to protect the lives of crew and passengers on busy shipping lanes.”

The WMO says the previous record wave height of 18.275 meters (59.96 feet) was measured on 8 December 2007, also in the North Atlantic.

The buoy which recorded the wave is a part of the UK Met Office’s network of Marine Automatic Weather Stations, used to complement ship-based measurements and satellite observations which monitor the oceans and forecast meteorological hazards on the high seas.


“The new world record will be added to the official WMO archive of weather and climate extremes which is being constantly updated and expanded thanks to continued improvements in instrumentation, technology, and analysis,” said Randall Cerveny, Joint Rapporteur on World Records of Climate and Weather Extremes for WMO.

The archive includes the world’s highest and lowest temperatures, rainfall, heaviest hailstone, longest dry period, maximum gust of wind, as well as hemispheric weather and climate extremes.

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