How To Detect And Avoid Rogue Waves?

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Credit: jeremy-bishop-unsplash

A recent news article published in the Nature World News states that What Makes These Extreme Storm Waves Dangerous and How to Detect Them.

The science behind rogue waves

A marine biologist studies the science behind rogue waves, its dangers, the chances of surviving one, and possibility of predicting the occurrence of the ocean monster, also known as a killer wave.

Up until 1995, scientists discredited the concept of rogue waves. However, after sensors on a Norwegian oil rig and the captain of the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2 respectively detected and saw a 26-meter and 27-meter wave in that same year (1995), and in different oceans, there is no denying its possibility.

In a turn of events, scientists now believe that these rogue waves happen relatively frequently and not just once every 10,000 years.

Rogue Waves Defined

Rogue waves, also known as killer waves or freak waves, can reach up to several storeys high.

Walls of Water. The National Ocean Service states that most descriptions of extremely large storm waves describe them as appearing like “walls of water” and that they frequently have steep sides and unusually deep troughs.

Twice the Height. Referencing National Geographic, a wave that is twice the region’s significant wave height is typically considered a rogue wave. The highest one-third of waves on average over a period of time make up the significant wave height. As a result, a rogue wave is much larger than the other waves that are nearby and occurring at the same time.

In Calm Waters, too. The Sydney Morning Herald, on the other hand, says that It can quickly rise and vanish from a choppy sea, but it can also appear out of nowhere in calm waters.

Not Tsunamis. Rogue waves are different from tsunamis, which are caused by large water displacements brought on by natural occurrences like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or landslides. They affect the entire water column. At sea, a tsunami wave rolling underneath the surface may not be noticed, except near the shore, as it enters the shallows, those waves can climb to terrifying heights, often kilometers wide.

Meanwhile, surface waves are typically thought to be rogue waves.

Formation. One way to explain rogue waves is via the linear theory, which contends that when two wave crests collide, they can combine to form a single, larger wave.

When varying currents move into each other, different wave columns, also known as “wave trains,” will occasionally collide, creating enormous waves for a brief period.

The alternative theory holds that it can occasionally swell, drawing energy from nearby waves and merging into a single rogue.

In 2012, an experiment by Akhmediev and his German colleagues produced “super rogue waves” which are more than five times the size of others around.

How Rough is a Rogue Wave?

Calm and Clear Before the Rogue. Professor Nail Akhmediev, an ANU theoretical physicist, claims that before the enormous wave appears, survivors will occasionally describe “clear skies” and otherwise favorable sailing conditions. Even rescue helicopters may be swallowed by such phenomena as they swing toward the water.

Internal Waves. According to Akhmediev, there are also enormous, unexpected waves, also known as rogue internal waves, deep below. In 2021, one of these shattered an Indonesian submarine into three pieces, killing all 53 people inside.

According to scientists, the region is a known hotspot for this type of sea turbulence. Satellite images from the time also showed waves on the surface, which were probably “ripples” from a huge wall of water surging below.

1 for Every 10,000. According to Akhmediev, there would be one rogue wave for every 10,000 waves. This implies that there would always be at least 10 of them in the ocean. Fortunately, there aren’t many ships compared to the size of the ocean, so few people will run into them.

10 in 3 Weeks. Within just three weeks in 2004, researchers using European Space Agency satellite data discovered at least 10 sizable rogue waves, each measuring at least 25 meters. It is most likely that the 200 supertankers as well as container ships over 200 meters long that had perished in severe weather over the previous 20 years were sunk by rogue waves.

Multiple Rogue Waves. When three rogue ships, known as the “three sisters,” struck off the coast of Spain in 2010, two people were killed. In 1998, multiple rogue waves killed 6 people and consumed 5 boats in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Rogue Holes. Rogue holes, the opposite of rogue waves in which the depth of the trough, or the wave’s lowest point, can be twice as large as its crest, or the top part, was demonstrated by Akhmediev and his colleagues in 2012.

According to Akhmediev, rogue holes – large hole that suddenly opens in the sea – can be even more dangerous and steeper than rogue waves.

Surviving a Rogue Wave

Head On. A head-on approach is preferable to being hit from the side and capsizing, according to maritime expert Peter van Duyn. It’s still crucial to remember that climbing that underwater cliff bow-first has its risks. The ship could be destroyed by the drag if the wave is particularly large.

Limit at 11 Meters. However, experts caution that ships are still not made to withstand the force of rogue waves, including Akhmediev. Many ships are designed to withstand only 11-meter-high waves.

Not Flexible Enough. A ship’s steel must be both flexible and strong to move with the sea. Ships, according to Akhmediev, are made to roll in storms to a certain extent, but once they are bent at a 40 to 50-degree angle, they begin to absorb water.

Old Ships. He claims that older ships, as well as poorly loaded cargo holds, may have inferior steel, and can reduce the likelihood of surviving such a wave.

Predicting Rogue Waves

Scientists are already working on the prediction of rogue waves. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US is developing WAVEWATCH III, an hourly forecast for potentially dangerous ocean conditions.

Rogue waves may be occurring less frequently off the western coast of America as storm systems shift, but they may be occurring at increasing heights.

van Duyn says that Even though the science of rogues is much better today, good seamanship will still play a significant role in many cases. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that people were hoping to get a chance to take the wheel when they saw a rogue wave.

 

 

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Source: Nature World News

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