Welcome to Wavechasers, led by Prof. Matthew Alford.  You know the 20'-30' waves we see and surf on beaches like Pipeline and Jaws? Piddling! The waves we study are beneath the sea surface, 1000's of meters down, and can be as large as 300 m (1000') high (think: underwater waves as large as skyscrapers). 

More interesting still, they travel all the way across oceans, and eventually break just like surface waves do. Finally, consider that these waves can cause submarines to hit the bottom or breach the surface, and the heat moved around by the breaking has profound implications for the oceans' circulation - which in turn impacts the climate. So we build instruments in our lab to monitor and better understand their propagation and breaking, spend about 1-2 months a year traveling all over the world deploying the systems and trying to understand the data.

Our mission is to use all the tools available to track these subsea monsters across the globe. We try to do the best possible science, educate as many people as possible about the oceans, and have as much fun as possible along the way.

We are in the process of transitioning from the University of Washington to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  For the time being you can follow us at this site which can be reached from wavechasers.uw.edu or wavechasers.ucsd.edu.

The best way to find out about us is to watch the pilot created by Wide Eye Productions or the story in Ocean Currents.  Then go tell all your friends at Discovery Channel that they should have made this into a documentary special!

Check out our blog archive to get a feel for the kinds of things we do.


What's New
  • Paper on massive waves in the South China Sea published in Nature Simulation by Harper Simmons (University of Alaska Fairbanks) rendered by the UW Center for Environmental Visualization (CEV).  The paper can be found here.
    Posted May 7, 2015, 11:15 AM by Matthew Alford
  • Tasmanian Tidal Dissipation Experiment (TTIDE) field work begins! We're on R/V Revelle off Tasmania deploying 15 deep-sea moorings to track the internal tide as it travels all the way from New Zealand and breaks on ...
    Posted Jan 16, 2015, 3:43 AM by Matthew Alford
  • Washington Coast Wave Chasing cruise begins The APL and Scripps teams are both on board R/V Oceanus, tracking monster subsea waves near our buoy off La Push, Washington.  Check out our blog!
    Posted Aug 27, 2014, 7:33 AM by Matthew Alford
  • Wavechasers moving to Scripps Matthew has accepted a position at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and so the Wavechasers have relocated to Scripps.  It's a big transition, and so bear with us as ...
    Posted Aug 21, 2014, 11:30 AM by Matthew Alford
  • Wavechasers article on deep breaking lee waves selected for American Geophysical Union Research Spotlight
    Posted Apr 22, 2014, 1:05 PM by Matthew Alford
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 48. View more »
In the News
  • New Wavechasers article reveals properties of Puget Sound source waters King 5 news picked up the story and did a great job with it - see it here.See the news article at http://www.washington.edu/news/2014/04/14 ...
    Posted Apr 14, 2014, 6:36 PM by Matthew Alford
  • Wavechasers and US embassy in Samoa shrink heads PRESS RELEASE (issued by US embassy in Samoa)   Samoa Victim Support Group is Shrinking Heads! Yes we do mean that literally, but don’t worry, they are only Styrofoam heads ...
    Posted Jan 12, 2014, 10:56 AM by Matthew Alford
  • Alford quoted in Science Alford was quoted in a recent article by Eli Kintisch, "A Sea Change for U.S. Oceanography," on the current status and future of oceanography.  
    Posted Apr 3, 2013, 6:11 PM by Matthew Alford
  • Former wave chaser puts internal waves on the bloggo- and tweeto-spheres Kim Martini, the first PhD student from the Wavechasers group, has moved on to a postdoc with Harper Simmons at University of Alaska Fairbanks, but is still finding time to ...
    Posted Aug 9, 2012, 8:33 PM by WaveChasers APL
  • Wavechasers and R/V Revelle top story in Samoa The Revelle hosted visits from two groups of Samoan scientists and students as well as two news teams while were loading the ship (photos here at the US embassy site ...
    Posted Jul 21, 2012, 8:13 PM by WaveChasers APL
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 7. View more »

Subpages (3): About Us Announcements News