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Buoy near New Zealand records the largest wave ever measured in the southern hemisphere

A wave rider buoy fixed at Campbell Island has registered a mammoth 23.8-metre tall wave, the largest ever measured in the southern hemisphere.

The announcement was made by senior oceanographer Tom Durrant, who works at Metocean, part of Meteorological Metservice of New Zealand (MetService).

The buoy only records data during the first 20 minutes of each hour, so Durrant thinks there’s a pretty good chance the wave could’ve been even larger.

“It’s quite possible, even probable, that there were much higher waves during this storm,” he said.

MetOcean General Manager Dr Peter McComb said these types of measurements are exactly what his team set out to achieve.

“We know that the speed of these storms plays an important role in the resultant wave climate and that has great relevance under both the existing and climate change scenarios,” he said.

This monstrous wave displaced the previous record, a gargantuan 22.03-metre wall of water recorded by an Australian buoy south of Tasmania back in 2012.

The buoy that registered the new record holder is part of a larger collaborative project between the New Zealand Defense Force, the Defence Technology Agency, MetService and global data platform Spoondrift.

This cooperative effort has six more buoys scattered in the area to collect wave data. The region is a particular focus of research because it accounts for 22 percent of the planet’s oceans and is considered one of the most active in the world in terms of waves.

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