14 Dec 2016

World's biggest wave declared

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:20 pm on 14 December 2016

A new world record for the world's biggest wave has just been declared and it’s a doozy.

At 19m, it's big enough to swamp a six-storey building, or bigger than the trunk of our tallest tree, the kauri, Tāne Mahuta.

A 19 metre high wave has broken records as the tallest ever.

A 19 metre high wave has broken records as the tallest ever. Photo: Metservice

It didn’t, however, happen in our neck of the woods.

An automated buoy measured the wave at a remote spot between the northern coast of Scotland and Iceland on 4 February, 2013.  

The wave’s towering proportions have just been confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Wave height is defined as the distance from the crest of one wave to the trough of the next.

She says the three-year lag in declaring the monster wave is down to science taking its time.

“There’s lots of observations all over the world to verify a record - it has to go to the WMO, there are a lot of technical commissions who investigate these things and it takes time.

“They will investigate the equipment used, they will investigate the weather at the time and they’ll investigate the site that it’s at and different things to make sure that it is legitimate.”