OSB: What further research is needed in this area?
TA: Whilst scientists understand the basic features of most sea-states fairly well, we do not really understand at a local level the physics when a sea-state changes rapidly – for example if the wind suddenly starts blowing in a different direction. What we really need is far more high quality measurements of individual large waves – without this we cannot know whether our theories are right. (Bold face emphasize added.)
I am really impressed with this answer, since my impression of them was thinking of them in terms of theoretical modeling. But they are research engineers, so it is not surprising that they have a healthy appreciation of what is really going on out there in the real ocean. Now my question is that there are really more than just a handful practicing scientists and engineers who all agree that "high quality measurements of individual large waves" are needed, how come this need can not be duly recognized by the power that be in charge the research funding programs?