Breaking wave

  • plunging breaker
    large wave breaking

    in fluid dynamics, a breaking wave or breaker is a wave whose amplitude reaches a critical level at which some process can suddenly start to occur that causes large amounts of wave energy to be transformed into turbulent kinetic energy. at this point, simple physical models that describe wave dynamics often become invalid, particularly those that assume linear behaviour.

    the most generally familiar sort of breaking wave is the breaking of water surface waves on a coastline. wave breaking generally occurs where the amplitude reaches the point that the crest of the wave actually overturns—the types of breaking water surface waves are discussed in more detail below. certain other effects in fluid dynamics have also been termed "breaking waves," partly by analogy with water surface waves. in meteorology, atmospheric gravity waves are said to break when the wave produces regions where the potential temperature decreases with height, leading to energy dissipation through convective instability; likewise rossby waves are said to break[1] when the potential vorticity gradient is overturned. wave breaking also occurs in plasmas,[2] when the particle velocities exceed the wave's phase speed.

    a reef or spot of shallow water such as a shoal against which waves break may also be known as a breaker.

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Plunging breaker
Large wave breaking

In fluid dynamics, a breaking wave or breaker is a wave whose amplitude reaches a critical level at which some process can suddenly start to occur that causes large amounts of wave energy to be transformed into turbulent kinetic energy. At this point, simple physical models that describe wave dynamics often become invalid, particularly those that assume linear behaviour.

The most generally familiar sort of breaking wave is the breaking of water surface waves on a coastline. Wave breaking generally occurs where the amplitude reaches the point that the crest of the wave actually overturns—the types of breaking water surface waves are discussed in more detail below. Certain other effects in fluid dynamics have also been termed "breaking waves," partly by analogy with water surface waves. In meteorology, atmospheric gravity waves are said to break when the wave produces regions where the potential temperature decreases with height, leading to energy dissipation through convective instability; likewise Rossby waves are said to break[1] when the potential vorticity gradient is overturned. Wave breaking also occurs in plasmas,[2] when the particle velocities exceed the wave's phase speed.

A reef or spot of shallow water such as a shoal against which waves break may also be known as a breaker.