Tag Archives: surface roughness

Surface roughness, fetch, capillary waves

Talking about capillary waves the other day, I thought I’d show you some more pictures of them. Today not in a close up, but rather their overall effect on surface roughness.

See how one side of the water is all smooth except for the occasional wave (for which you can clearly distinguish its crest and trough; those are gravity waves) and the other side is a lot darker and looking roughed up? That’s where the wind has had enough fetch to create capillary waves, and an increased surface roughness is the effect they have on the water surface. Easy enough to spot!