From Glossary of Meteorology
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  1. Generally, any pattern with some roughly identifiable periodicity in time and/or space.

    This applies, in meteorology, to atmospheric waves in the horizontal flow pattern (e.g., Rossby wave, long wave, short wave, cyclone wave, barotropic disturbance).
    See also inertia wave.

  2. At the surface of the ocean, a disturbance generated by wind action with dynamics governed by the influence of gravity and/or surface tension.

  3. Popularly used as a synonym for "surge" or "influx," as in tidal wave (storm surge), heat wave, cold wave.

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