White capping

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Definition of White capping:
White-capping or top-breaking is steepness-induced wave-breaking, which occurs in deeper water when the wave height becomes too large compared to the wavelength.
This is the common definition for White capping, other definitions can be discussed in the article
White-capped waves. Photo credit recon.sccf.org

The occurrence of white capping depends on:

  • the strength of the wind,
  • the fetch (the distance over which the wind blows over the water surface),
  • the duration of the wind field.

The white caps (also called 'white horses') are irregularly distributed over the water surface. They typically occur at wind speeds of 5 Bf or more (5 Bf ~ 8-11 m/s).

See also