Why do deep-water waves sometimes break instead of just getting bigger?
a. The waves can't grow any more in size because there is less energy in the open ocean wave than there is in a near shore wave.
b. The waves can't grow any more in size because the energy from the winds is equal to the energy lost by the waves breaking and then leaving the fetch zone.
c. The waves can't grow any more in size because they are losing energy as it is transferred from the water to the wind.
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I think its b, am i right?
The deep water waves breaking is a function of harmonics and gravity. The water "particles" move in a circular pattern in deep water, with the "axis" parallel to the direction of motion of the wave and the circle is vertical (like a bicycle tire in motion). As the wave approaches the shore, the seafloor interferes with the circular pattern and causes the bottom of the circle to slow, which causes the upper portion to become higher (conservation of energy and momentum).
Eventually the wave gets so high that it cannot "get enough water" to maintain itself, so it 'breaks'. This circular pattern of water motion in waves is reflected by the shape of the wave just before it breaks.
okay, so are you saying that its d, because I thought that at first and then I saw this link: http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/students/waves/waves3.htm
It said "How large can waves grow? Waves will continue to grow in size until they reach a maximum size that is determined by the wind speed and fetch. When the waves can no longer grow in size because the energy supplied by the existing winds equals the energy lost by waves breaking and leaving the fetch area, we refer to it as a fully developed sea."