Story: Ocean currents and tides

Storm forming, 31 October 2004

Storm forming, 31 October 2004

Storm systems thousands of kilometres away can generate large waves that reach New Zealand. This satellite photograph shows a storm system (the spiralling clouds just south of Tasmania) developing at latitudes between 40° and 50° south – known as the roaring forties. Intense depressions (air masses that are unstable and ascending) suck in air towards their centre as they spin eastwards. If one of these depressions sits just south of the country, and is slow moving, it can pump high winds and big waves onto exposed coasts.

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Metservice New Zealand
Reference: 200309170400_R40

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How to cite this page:

Craig Stevens and Stephen Chiswell, 'Ocean currents and tides - Waves', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 August 2022)

Story by Craig Stevens and Stephen Chiswell, published 12 Jun 2006