Hi david...
Here's what I found:
There's an educational site run by Nasa, showing
radar images which correlate wind speed and
wave height. You can view it at:
http://eospso.gsfc.nasa.gov/eos_edu.pack/p14.html
Referring to the radar image on the page, it says
"In this image, the strongest winds (about 15
meters per second, or 54 kilometers per hour)."
and
"In this image, the highest waves occur in the
Southern Ocean, where waves up to 6 meters high
...are found"
referring to the same area.
A little math tells us that 54kph = 33.5556 mph,
33.5556 mph = 29.1262608knots and
6 meters = 19.686 ft. So, in this study,
over a ten day period, winds of about 29 knots
produced waves of up to 19+ feet in height.
Here's a page for converting between knots,
or kts, to mph and back:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/fwd/media/appendix/windf.htm
The next page on our tour is one which displays the
Beaufort Scale of Wind Force and Probable Wave Height:
http://marine.cwb.gov.tw/CWBMMC/windwaveE.html
It gives probable and maximum wave heights for various
winds, in both knots and meters/sec. The probable
heights can be taken as 'average' heights. You will
need to convert their figures, in meters of height,
into feet, at this ratio: 1 meter = 3.281 ft.
Using this, you can see that the maximum wave height
they have listed, which is 16 meters, would be 52.496
feet high, in winds of 6471 knots, or about 80 mph.
Here's a page which allows you to convert 'average'
and 'peak' values to root mean square, or rms values:
http://www.forcontrols.com/html/formulas.html
So, for the 'strong gale' listing on the chart, a
wind of 4147 knots, or about 44 knots, would produce
a peak height of 10 meters, or 32.81 feet, with a
rms values of 23.204 feet (32.81/1.414).
Searches done, via Google:
"wave height" "wind speed"
://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&q=%22wave+height%22+%22wind+speed%22
"knots to mph"
://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&q=%22knots+to+mph%22
"calculating root mean square"
://www.google.com/search?num=50&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&q=%22calculating+root+mean+square%22&btnG=Google+Search
I hope this satisfies your interest, and
please feel free to post a request for
clarification if necessary, before you
rate the answer.
sublime1ga 
Clarification of Answer by
sublime1ga
on
23 Aug 2002 09:28 PDT
david...
Thank you for the opportunity to clarify my answer.
While such a simplified formula might be theorized, the
calculations are, in reality, quite complex, and require
that wave height be sampled over a period of at least
10 minutes in order to account for the many variables.
Surflink, a resource for surfers seeking large waves,
notes the following in regards to its calculations:
"The reports draw from 30 sources both out at sea as
well as land based in order to obtain current swell,
tide and wind information. This information is sent
through a 100+ step formula that contains 11
different geographic characteristics for each break"
http://www.surflink.com/pwr/reportinfo.htm
The DNV Course in Ocean Engineering site, here:
http://www.dnv.com/ocean/course.htm
goes into great details about the mathematics
involved, and the factors taken into account,
such as whether the wind is moving in the
same direction as the wave, thus driving and
amplifying it.
This page introduces the subject of wind/wave
calculations, from the simple to the complex:
http://www.dnv.com/ocean/bk/c/a34/s0.htm
Arriving at the formula on the following page:
http://www.dnv.com/ocean/bk/c/a34/s5.htm#E3473
That being formula 3.4.73:
which I cannot reproduce in any way than this:
H sub s approx 5.74 cdot 10 sup 4 V sqrt{V over g} t sup 2/3
I can continue to search when I return later
today, but I wanted you to know that I was
working on it, and that the complexity of the
subject makes it seem unlikely that a simple
formula exists, since even the complex math
cannot produce numbers without considerable
amounts of error:
"Expected error in the wave height estimates
may be of order 15%. The time of blowing
needed to obtain this wave condition is 12.9
hours. This duration is realistic and does
also support the initial choice of 10 hours
duration used to transform the wind speed."
http://www.dnv.com/ocean/bk/s123.htm
Searches done, via Google:
"wave height" "wind speed" + formula
://www.google.com/search?num=50&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&q=%22wave+height%22+%22wind+speed%22+%2B+formula&btnG=Google+Search
sublime1ga
