What factors influence the size of a wave?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A number of factors affect the size of waves. These include wind speed, duration, water depth, distance of wind travel over open water or fetch, direction of tide, speed of tide, etc. Higher wind speeds result in bigger waves and smaller speeds result in relatively smaller waves. Wind that are blowing for longer duration also causes bigger waves. Fetch is the term commonly used for distance traveled by the wind over water surface. The more the distance traveled by the wind, bigger are the waves. Proximity to coastal regions may limit the fetch. In shallow waters, wave speed falls, thus increasing their heights. That is why tall waves are seen near the beaches. Tide direction also affects the wave heights. If the tide direction is opposite to the wind direction, taller waves result.

Hope this helps.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team