Sea State is the characterization of wave and swell, typically in terms of height, wavelength, period, and directional wave energy flux. Waves generated by ocean surface stress evolve from wind waves to swell through nonlinear dynamical processes.. Wave characteristics are modified by bathymetry when the depth of the water is comparable to the wavelength, and by surface currents. Sea state is most well known for its impacts on marine safety, marine transport and damage to structures. It is also a substantial modifier of air-sea exchanges of momentum, moisture and CO2. Waves also impact beach erosion, storm-related water damage (wave set-up contributes to storm surge), surface albedo, and transport of larva. Waves can also modify the growth or decay of sea ice.
Map of Wave Height
Figure: Annual Mean significant wave height in m, measured by the Jason-1 Satellite.