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Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Wind waves and swell in the North Sea



The undulatory progress of wind wave research in the past two decades is chronologically summarized by the following quotations:

The present state of our knowledge is profoundly unsatisfactory [Ursell, 1956].

The three elements needed for determining the mechanisms of water wave generation by wind … were shown in a review by Ursell [1956] to be all wanting, but in that by Longuet-Higgens [1962] to have been in. large measure supplied in the intervening six years [Lighthill, 1962].

After a decade of intense study, which has seen the development of numerous wave generation theories … it is now evident that the mechanisms mainly responsible for the most rapid stage of growth of sea waves under the action of the wind still remain to be found [Longuet-Higgins, 1969] (introduction to a paper presenting yet another mechanism of wave generation).

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