In fluid dynamics, wind waves, or wind-generated waves, are surface waves that occur on the free surface of oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and canals or even on small puddles and ponds. They result from the wind blowing over an area of fluid surface. Waves in the oceans can travel thousands of miles before reaching land. Wind waves range in size from small ripples, to waves over 100 ft (30 m) high.
When directly generated and affected by local winds, a wind wave system is called a wind sea. After the wind ceases to blow, wind waves are calledswells. More generally, a swell consists of wind-generated waves that are not significantly affected by the local wind at that time. They have been generated elsewhere or some time ago. Wind waves in the ocean are called ocean surface waves.