# At the ocean surface, why do large amplitude waves travel faster than small amplitude waves?

I understand the mathematics behind it but I am looking for an intuitive description.

• Classical waves exhibit frequency dispersion, but not amplitude dispersion (that I'm aware about .) I assume you are asking about real waves (non-linear and non-classical.) Can you please explain what leads you say large amplitude waves travel faster than small amplitude waves? Jun 27 '15 at 5:30
• yes I am talking about solitary waves. See Russell $c = \sqrt{g(d+a)}$ where $a$ is the wave amplitude and $d$ is the depth. Jun 27 '15 at 5:34
• "The properties of a solitary waves result from an exact balance between dispersion which tends to spread the solitary wave into a train of waves, and non-linear effects which tend to shorten and steepen the wave." Is from here: oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter16/… Jun 28 '15 at 16:36
• @reddit: maybe you should add that equation and the reference for it to your question? Mar 29 '16 at 1:48
• This seems like a geophysics/fluids question and is therefore appropriate here. Even the book cited is a "Physical Oceanography" book. I am curious to see an answer for this. Apr 4 '16 at 3:30