QOTW - 14.06.22- Why are breaking waves white?

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Emma Robertson

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QOTW - 14.06.22- Why are breaking waves white?
« on: 17/06/2014 16:53:13 »
Emma Robertson asked the Naked Scientists:

We are looking at the waves breaking on Waikiki beach in Hawaii at night, wondering why the breaking waves are white. Where does the white come from? We suspect there is a relationship to this and phosphorescence...
 
Thank you, and we look forward to hearing your answer!

Aloha!

Emma and Greig











What do you think?
« Last Edit: 17/06/2014 17:02:32 by hannahcritchlow »

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Offline RD

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Re: Why are breaking waves white?
« Reply #1 on: 02/06/2014 17:47:32 »
Emma Robertson asked the Naked Scientists:
   
We are looking at the waves breaking on Waikiki beach in Hawaii at night, wondering why the breaking waves are white. Where does the white come from? We suspect there is a relationship to this and phosphorescence...

White surf is the same mechanism as froth on a beer: scattering of light from small droplets/small bubbles ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mie_scattering

If the surf has a blue glow it's bio-luminescence ... http://youtu.be/9HcQlQlKt2w?t=43s
« Last Edit: 02/06/2014 17:52:22 by RD »