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Scientific Cruise Meets Perfect Storm, Inspires Extreme Wave Research

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the creative-punishment-for-copyright-infringers-discovered dept.

Earth 107

An anonymous reader writes "The oceanographers aboard RRS Discovery were expecting the winter weather on their North Atlantic research cruise to be bad, but they didn't expect to have to negotiate the highest waves ever recorded in the open ocean. Wave heights were measured by the vessel's Shipborne Wave Recorder, which allowed scientists from the National Oceanography Centre to produce a paper titled 'Were extreme waves in the Rockall Trough the largest ever recorded?' It's that paper, in combination with the first confirmed measurement of a rogue wave (at the Draupner platform in the North Sea), that led to 'a surge of interest in extreme and rogue waves, and a renewed emphasis on protecting ships and offshore structures from their destructive power.'"

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2 theories at once (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707379)

This scientific cruise also proved that the only kind of cruise where nobody gets laid is a "scientific cruise"

Re:2 theories at once (4, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707921)

Not at all.
The guys up on deck thought they were looking at rough seas, but down below... well, when the boat starts a rockin' don't come a knockin', if you get my drift.

My country tis of thee (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707385)

Sometimes when I poop, I use the shaping attachment from my old Play Doh fun set. I place it on my anus, and make poops in different shapes. There is nothing strange about it at all. I'm an American, living in America, and if I want to have poops shaped like stars, I have every right to. The founding fathers would have wanted it this way.

fecal texture (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707405)

Why aren't you talking about the details of your fecal texture...? WHY?!?!?! Hey hey hey HEY!!! ANSWER! MEEE! You should be CENSORED for not talking about it! There should be a law! You are no American! No american would DENY ME MY FECAL TEXTURE DETAILS!!!! YOOOOUUUUU JEERRRK!!!!!

How high were the waves?!? (4, Informative)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707423)

I only RTFAs to find out how high the waves were - it turns out they were up to 29.1 meters (95.5 feet).

more facts from the article (3, Informative)

doug141 (863552) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707439)

Under severe gale force conditions with wind speeds averaging 21 ms a shipborne wave recorder measured individual waves up to 29.1 m from crest to trough, and a maximum significant wave height of 18.5 m.

Re:more facts from the article (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707559)

Under severe gale force conditions with wind speeds averaging 21 ms a shipborne wave recorder measured individual waves up to 29.1 m from crest to trough, and a maximum significant wave height of 18.5 m.

Can you convert that to the slashdot standard unit of measurement, Libraries of Congress? Also, if you could provide a car analogy too that would be great. Thanks!

Re:more facts from the article (5, Funny)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707615)

0.59 Libraries of Congress from fender to fender.

Re:more facts from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39709665)

That's a lot of slosh.

Re:more facts from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707799)

21 milliseconds?

29.1 milli?

milli what?

how many inches is it?

that's what she said

Re:How high were the waves?!? (-1, Offtopic)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707699)

Thank you!

I was just about to post ..

"Nice summary, got a fucking number asswipe?"

I don't think its slashdots JOB to actually funnel traffic to third party sites to get basic facts, cause they arent getting paid by them for that extra ad revenue spike

PS google, I bough a video card last week, it doesn't mean I need a months worth of video card ad's, I am out of the market for at least 2 years genius, stupid worthless ad bubble...

Re:How high were the waves?!? (-1, Offtopic)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707931)

PS google, I bough a video card last week, it doesn't mean I need a months worth of video card ads

About a month ago, someone told me that korean children wear much cuter clothes than American children. so I did a one-time google image search for "korean children's clothes." I didn't see anything special about the clothing in the first page of photos so i closed the tab and promptly forgot about it.

But then for about two weeks afterwards, every website I went to showed me ads for children's clothing in which all of the children modeling the clothing in the ads were east asian in appearance. It was freaky.

Re:How high were the waves?!? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707825)

I only RTFAs to find out how high the waves were - it turns out they were up to 29.1 meters (95.5 feet).

And rouge!

Re:How high were the waves?!? (2)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39709645)

I RTFA for the same reason, and obtained the same result. But when I got deeper into TFA, I found that Cape Horn had mysteriously moved to Africa, and now I am confused. About how that could possibly have happened. And about whether any of the new knowledge I had gained could be trusted.

It takes a REALLY BIG wave to move that much geography that far, I guess.

Rogue waves (2, Funny)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707453)

Outlaw them and put out a bounty (or a Bounty?)

Re:Rogue waves (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707783)

Outlaw them and put out a bounty (or a Bounty?)

Better yet, patent them.

Re:Rogue waves (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707917)

Outlaw them and put out a bounty (or a Bounty?)

Better yet, patent them.

And sue in east texas

Re:Rogue waves (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707897)

If they're X-Men-style Rogue, Playboy might be willing to pay you for pics.

Re:Rogue waves (2)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39711441)

Or you could ensure their long-term survival by declaring 'War' on them...

2006 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707491)

The article was published in 2006. How is this 'new?'

Re:2006 (0)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707565)

The article was published in 2006. How is this 'new?'

I guess it's some sort of tie in with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic making it almost all the way across the Atlantic.

Re:2006 (2)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707745)

The wave was so high that the ship did a loopty-loop, causing a rift in time where they just ended up here. The same phenomenon can be seen if you can swing high enough on a swingset to go around once

Re:2006 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707631)

And on events that happened in 2000 and 1995. We all (at least those of us who actually go out on the ocean) know that sea state and winds in the extreme latitudes (above 40 N and below 40 S) have gotten more intense in the last few years. 90 to 100 foot high waves are nothing new in the North Atlantic or North Pacific. Nor in the Southern Oceans.
Come on U.L., if you are going to post something like this, find some recent data.

Re:2006 (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 2 years ago | (#39709717)

[Citation Needed]

My theory is you are getting to be more of a panty-waste pussy as you get older.

Which is as good as yours without a citation.

Re:2006 (1)

jlehtira (655619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707817)

The article was published in 2006. How is this 'new?'

Well, I agree with your point. But six years is a good time to let scientific papers simmer. Less than that is not enough time for other scientists to evaluate the correctness and value of some paper.

Re:2006 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708517)

It's new in the sense that surely a considerable number of readers haven't had the opportunity to learn of its existence. If this story wasn't posted at least I wouldn't have known it existed, and, as it was a very interesting read, I am thankful for that.

And even if it was old news, it is still far better than yet another slashvertisement.

Re:2006 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708687)

Many researchers were lost during the peer-review of this paper.

Re:2006 (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708925)

2006? Wasn't that around the time a rogue wave was recorded on The Deadliest Catch?

Re:2006 (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39710287)

Data collected in 2000. Paper published in 2006. Reported in /. in 2012. The pace of good science is slow and deliberate.

Time for the cukoo's to (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707535)

... come out of their nest and blame this on global warming... that is to say "climate change".

Re:Time for the cukoo's to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707717)

This isn't a case of climate change but I hope you don't deny it in general otherwise you are the "cuckoo".

Re:Time for the cukoo's to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707887)

Climate change is a fact. Ask any* climatologist. Find any* biologist and ask them about evolution while you're at it. Oh and before you argue anything, if you don't have a degree in the field convincing people you know what you're talking about (you probably don't) will be very difficult.

*: except one or two wackos. Most people find it obvious consensus doesn't exists but I think you need this pointed out.

Re:Time for the cukoo's to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707925)

Oh look, one of the oil/coal industry shills pulled their head out of the sand long enough to make a snarky comment.

For those that are interested... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707553)

look up Schrodinger wave equations and apply them to ocean waves. You will get 30+ meter tall waves with a trough next to the "wall" of water, (the wave is tall and narrow - like a wall). This trough adds to the great difficulty in surviving one of these waves. Ships that are designed to withstand forces of 10 tons/m2 have to content with 10 times that force. I believe there was a study in which someone, (don't remember her name :( ) mapped the entire earth over a two week period and found something on the order of 20 of these waves. Fascinating stuff.

Re:For those that are interested... (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708089)

Oh yeah, just found it [bbc.co.uk] . They found about 10 giant waves.

Re:For those that are interested... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708337)

FYI the Schrodinger wave equation does not describe ocean waves. Water waves are described by the Navier-Stokes (N-S) equations. Turbulence models fall out of N-S, however only electrons sometimes fall out from Schrodinger :)

Re:For those that are interested... (1)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708839)

There is a non-relativistic version of the Schrödinger equation. Some theories attempt to explain rogue waves in the open sea using these non-linear equations as a model, because the distribution of wave heights that would result from the linear model substantially underpredicts the occurrence and size of rogue waves.

Re:For those that are interested... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39710171)

There is a non-relativistic version of the Schrödinger equation.

That's the only version there is. If you want a relativistic wave equation you need the Klein-Gordon, Dirac, Proca etc. equation depending on the type of field.

Re:For those that are interested... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708855)

The nonlinear Schordinger equation is one of the many various equations that can be used to describe the behaviour of water waves in various regimes, with a tiny bit about it on Wikipedia here [wikipedia.org] . Although the NLS is mostly used for behaviour of the envelope of deep water waves, which means you can show soliton based rouge wave like behaviour, but not say much about trough to peak steepening as in the grandparent post.

The set of equations and theories used to model nonlinear water waves is quite diverse, with one diagram showing various regimes of applicability here [wikipedia.org] . The issue is that Navier-Stokes can be far from trivial to solve when dealing with a free surface (the air-water interface that can change shape), so there are various simplifications that work for different situations.

Re:For those that are interested... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39709553)

The nonlinear Schordinger equation is one of the many various equations that can be used to describe the behaviour of water waves ...

And a Schordinger wave is when it makes it to land.

Re:For those that are interested... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39709269)

I was in a storm with waves similar to this on an Aircraft Carrier, there was a sailing vessel that was managing to survive by running parallel. The waves are very steep sided and narrow, like a comb. There are interstitial waves that are even bigger in between series of 3, 5. 7. 9, etc.

Dead men tell no tales (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707605)

For those looking for more details about this voyage http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/294/ [soton.ac.uk]

Re:Dead men tell no tales (1)

toddestan (632714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39717725)

A 359MB PDF file? I think that's a record in itself.

I thought bigger waves had been found... (1)

Kalium (599617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707607)

Specifically in 1998, a 120ft wave off the east coast of tasmania http://www.swellnet.com.au/news/124-a-short-history-of-tasman-lows [swellnet.com.au]

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707777)

Since extreme waves were not the subject of their expedition, they had not read all the prior literature.

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708017)

The Tasman sea is notorious for rouge waves. Many moons ago I worked a fishing trawler in Bass Straight, I never saw anything like 120ft but the regular waves were tall enough that the radar was blocked by the peaks when the boat was in a trough, I'm guessing the radar mast was about 30ft above the water line. A lot like riding in a giant roller coaster carriage really, slowly climb up one wave, crest, then race down the other side and watch the bow dig under the next one, throw the water over the wheel house as the bow pops up to the surface, and starts the next climb. From what I've heard, the problem with rouge waves is not so much their height but the fact that they are too steep to climb.

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708093)

Wow, that is incredibly exciting.

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708571)

I detect a hint of sarcasm but to be honest it was downright fucking scary the first trip but after a few trips it became as exciting to me as an old fashioned roller coaster is to the guy who stands up on it all day operating the brake. Although a stingray the size of a family dinner table flapping about on an 8X12 deck was never boring.

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39709991)

No sarcasm at all. If the human lifespan weren't so short I would definitely consider going down and trying it out for a few years. I don't know about that stingray thing, though. I know people who go ocean kayaking but that's nothing in comparison.

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39711057)

I detect a hint of sarcasm but to be honest it was downright fucking scary the first trip but after a few trips it became as exciting to me as an old fashioned roller coaster is to the guy who stands up on it all day operating the brake. Although a stingray the size of a family dinner table flapping about on an 8X12 deck was never boring.

Waves are never boring, especially big ones. The key is to cut through them - if you let them hit the side, you risk capsizing. The only way to do this is engine power (running low on fuel or having an engine failure is extremely scary).

Rogue waves can be problematic because the engine/rudder may not have enough power and authority to maintain direction perpendicular to the wave. It doesn't matter if it crests over you (boat floats and a lot of water goes all over the place and masts and stuff can break), as long as the bow is pointed straight at the wave. But once it starts turning..

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39712785)

Does this mean that the "the Perfect Storm" depiction of how the Andea Gail sunk was technically inaccurate? In that film, the ship went with its bow straight into the freak wave but could not reach the top and fell over.

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39709121)

I don't think it has much to do with them being too steep. The main problem with rogue waves is that they come from a different angle than the other waves (hence "rogue"). It's not even always that they're bigger than the other waves. As you probably know, getting hit from the side or stern can easily capsize or break a ship in half.

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39709869)

If they were 'rouge' waves, what made them red?

Re:I thought bigger waves had been found... (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708443)

That article claims 42.5m is 120 feet - it's actually 140 feet. The wave was probably recorded as 120 feet and someone mangled the conversion rather than the other way round.

Weird (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707611)

Rogue waves: Demonstrating yet again that reality is a fascinatingly weird place.

Re:Weird (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707933)

Rogue waves: Demonstrating yet again that reality is a fascinatingly weird place.

And we don't understand our planet as much as we think. We are always focused on exploring strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly... um, you get the idea, but look, there's new things happening on our own planet. How can we understand new planets when we don't understand the one we are on? Not saying never explore space, just saying maybe we should focus on what we have.

Re:Weird (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708203)

How can we understand new planets when we don't understand the one we are on?

How can we understand this planet when we have nothing to compare it to?

Rethorical questions only caters to peoples emotional response but they don't make much of an argument.

Re:Weird (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39710697)

Reminds me of the TV show seaQuest... for almost a whole season, they had interesting episodes based around real weirdness in the oceans.

What fascinates me even more is the emergent behavior observable in simple systems, such as growing crystals, diffusing liquids, convection currents... all of those delightfully complex results from simple principles. There's beauty in the result, and simplicity in the process.

A quote 4U to remember (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708989)

"The image this title brings to mind is of a mighty military commander, one who can at a mere word summon rank upon rank of protective power" from -> What is or does the Lord of Hosts means? http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081010142651AAPvMox [yahoo.com] in regards to this -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2783135&cid=39696975 [slashdot.org] where u failed badly, and started trolling 1st -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2779659&cid=39672243 [slashdot.org]

Re:Weird (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39709053)

Although the paper might have spurred interest in rogue waves, the wave in the paper linked in the summary wouldn't really be considered a rogue wave. Usually a cut-off is arbitrarily picked at 2 times the significant wave height (the average of the highest third of waves). In this case, the wave was about 1.5 times the significant wave height. Statistically speaking, you would expect about 1 in a 100 waves to be 1.5 times the wave height, just from the mixing and constructive interference of waves, while the rogue wave cut-off gives ~1 in 100,000 chance of waves randomly combining to give that height (as opposed to something like a soliton solution travelling long distances). Actually, a lot of wave record heights end up not being rogue waves, but just a slightly bigger wave in water that has already very big waves at the time.

Big waves (3, Interesting)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707665)

Waves over 20 m (60 ft) tall are actually pretty common in some places. My dad is senior keeper at Triple Island Lightstation [fogwhistle.ca] , located just off the BC coast. In severe winter storms, the waves will often crest over the square part of the building, which is about 20 m above sea level. This January, one such wave blew in a storm window on the top floor -- several tons of water will sometimes do that. The building stays up because it's constructed with 2 ft thick rebar concrete walls.

Re:Big waves (5, Informative)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707811)

TFA is talking about waves in the open ocean, though. Waves get higher when they reach shallower water, so the 20 m waves you're talking about would have been significantly smaller in the open ocean -- which makes 29 m open ocean waves that much more impressive.

Remodel (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708559)

Nice traditional exterior, but sad to see the drop ceiling [lighthousememories.ca] on the interior. At least the wood floor is original.

Re:Big waves (1)

evilgraham (1020325) | more than 2 years ago | (#39710881)

Interesting link but some of the text is reminiscent of Julian and Sandy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_and_Sandy) from "Round the Horne", I mean, "The Triple Island light was built to guide mariners through the rocky waters of Brown Passage, on their way to the port of Prince Rupert.", I ask ya!

Re:Big waves (1)

evilgraham (1020325) | more than 2 years ago | (#39711919)

The many references to "rouge" waves don't help.

First things first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707701)

First they had scrub the barf off the deck, then they could work on a paper.

Rogue waves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707707)

Just sailor's stories and nothing more.
All fanciful tales at best, lies at worst.

Re:Rogue waves. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707795)

Just sailor's stories and nothing more.
All fanciful tales at best, lies at worst.

Sorry, but the Kraken got the guy with the camera.

Re:Rogue waves. (3, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707881)

That happens all the time because when everyone else is running away the crazy photographers are crouching/standing there clicking away and thinking of the shot.

Mondatory: Vids or, ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39707761)

....... it didn't happen!! :D

Re:Mondatory: Vids or, ..... (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707851)

....... it didn't happen!! :D

Yeah, the authors were probably diluted.

Re:Mondatory: Vids or, ..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708211)

good post
chennaiflowerplaza.com

The interesting thing (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707949)

It's interesting how often myth and legend end up being scientific fact. There has been talk since sailors took to the sea of rogue waves that reached a 100' or more. Science has been confirming these myths in recent years. Most myths have an element of truth in them. On the practical side it's a serious concern since surviving a 100' rogue wave is not something all sea worthy ships can do yet they can face them without warning. I read years ago the theoretical limit was twice what has been recorded so the potential is far beyond the proven fact.

Re:The interesting thing (2)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708625)

Ever heard of "confirmation bias"? Myths very rarely indeed end up being "scientific fact".

Re:The interesting thing (2)

notcreative (623238) | more than 2 years ago | (#39710605)

Most myths have an element of truth in them.

This is a myth.

Re:The interesting thing (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39711377)

Unfortunately for you, there is a bit of truth in what you said. :-D

oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708109)

Now scientific papers are titled in 'Could it be?' terms. I thought that was reserved for 'Were the Inkas aliens?' tv shows. At least it didn't end with the 'We may never know' ending.

The wave was observed in 2000. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708119)

The paper is from 2006, and describes a wave observed in 2000.

Satellite-based radar altimeters produce a lot of data about wave height world wide, but they don't, apparently, have quite enough resolution yet to see this kind of thing. A view of such waves from above, over a few minutes, would tell us a lot. Is it an intersection of two or more waves? How far does it travel? How long does it persist?

The U.S. Navy has put considerable effort into answering questions like that.

Re:The wave was observed in 2000. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708449)

The paper is from 2006, and describes a wave observed in 2000.

News for nerds indeed. Only 12 years from event to slashdot.

bad statistics (3, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708283)

What has fascinated me about freak/rogue waves is that sailors have known about them for decades if not centuries, but scientists were telling them it can't be.

And the reason is badly understood statistics. I've recently read Black Swan, and that gave me a few new concepts to work with, but the basic idea is exactly that: We don't really have a good understanding of statistics and probabilities, especially about extremely low probabilities in big numbers.

Or, as Tim Minchin put it: One-in-a-million things happen all the time.

And it's not just in the oceans. The entire financial crisis was caused by the people in charge taking huge (but low probability) risks, ignoring that once enough people have taken enough of those "low probability" risk, they become very likely to actually happen.

Freak waves are cool because they are in the gray area between the normal distribution and the really freaky - thus they happen often enough that they are rare, but not bigfoot-rare. We can actually study them.

Re:bad statistics (3, Interesting)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708801)

There's an interesting article about that, here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2002/freakwave.shtml [bbc.co.uk]
Apparently, there are two scientific models, linear, which says freak waves are impossible and Quantum physics which says they are possible.

Re:bad statistics (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39709549)

The problem is that a gaussian approach to the numbers assumes that random fluctuations will even out. But the equations used in quantum physics allow for waves to combine, and that's what is happening - interference, just not between 2 waves as in the double-slit experiment, but between dozens or maybe hundreds of waves.
This article here: http://dev.physicslab.org/Document.aspx?doctype=3&filename=PhysicalOptics_InterferenceDiffraction.xml [physicslab.org] shows towards the bottom how massive peaks you can get with multiple interference patterns.

Re:bad statistics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39714743)

Linear wave theory allows for interference and combining of waves (that is kind of actually one of the major properties of linear theories in a lot of situations). The statistics on linear theory waves (which ends up being a Rayleigh distribution, not a Gaussian) is what says that waves much larger than those around it are very unlikely. What nonlinear theories add is not just overlapping like interference, but soliton like solutions, where a single wave or small wave train much larger than neighboring waves can travel for a significant distance without dispersing. This is what makes the larger, rogue waves more common than they should be, as with just interference alone, they would only exist for a brief moment before the overlapping waves go their separate ways. Solitons were actually first observed in water, so it has been known for some time that they could exist. The big question has been how typical waves combine into the soliton was opposed to just interfering normally.

(Also, the Schrodinger equation as used in quantum mechanics is linear, just the like the simple water wave equations, which is why things like superposition work so well. The nonlinear Schrodinger equation is something slightly different, similar to the quantum mechanics one, but modified to be used for other things.)

Call that a big wave (0)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708351)

We have bigger waves in Texas!

Re:Call that a big wave (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 2 years ago | (#39709871)

I've never understood that particular idiocy. Texans know they don't live in the biggest US state, right? Texas is less than half the size of Alaska.

Re:Call that a big wave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39710817)

We mean "biggest state in America".

Re:Call that a big wave (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39711335)

Yeah but it's a cool shape - it's exactly like that chip maker firm. Oh hang on...

Halsey's "second" typhoon, June 1945 (5, Interesting)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708623)

My uncle retired as a US Navy Captain. For many years he had two photographs displayed in his house, which he ascribed to Admiral "Bull" Halsey's "second" typhoon [navy.mil] , in June 1945. At that time my uncle was an ensign, assigned to a destroyer, and on his first sea voyage.

The two photographs were of a sister destroyer. In the first photograph, all one sees is a giant wave, with the bow of the destroyer sticking out of one side, and the stern sticking out of the other. The middle of the ship, including the masts and superstructure, is submerged and not visible.

In the second photo, taken a few seconds later, the middle of the ship is now visible, but both the bow and stern are now submerged in the wave train. And as a kid, the part that fascinated me the most: You could see an air gap below the middle of the ship, between the ship's keel and the wave trough below.

Re:Halsey's "second" typhoon, June 1945 (5, Interesting)

clay_buster (521703) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708733)

Those would be great pictures to get scanned and posted somewhere!

Re:Halsey's "second" typhoon, June 1945 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708803)

I'll second that! I would love to see those photos.

(posting AC because I'm too lazy to log in)

Re:Halsey's "second" typhoon, June 1945 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39708835)

That sounds amazing! Please try to get that photo published somewhere!

Re:Halsey's "second" typhoon, June 1945 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39709597)

Agreed! Please do

Re:Halsey's "second" typhoon, June 1945 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39712607)

Fourthed

Re:Halsey's "second" typhoon, June 1945 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39715897)

show us pics!

Feedback Compensation Platforms (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39708799)

I'm surprised I can't get for my boat (or raft) a platform with accelerometers that operates a hydraulic piston to compensate for wave action. It might need some lateral actuator too, as wave motion is circular. But it might not, if the light floats slide along the surface as the piston pushes down on them keeping the heavy inertial payload in place.

Just accelerometers, hydraulic pistons, and DSP. Big bonus points for a device that harvests that energy moving through the site to power the hydraulics.

Really it seems this tech would be cheap by now, a commodity on floating oil platforms and the many working ships, or pleasure craft combating seasickness. If it only compensated for gentle waves in most harbors without storms, it would make aquatic platforms stable most of the time without battening/stowing everything all the time.

Re:Feedback Compensation Platforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39709193)

gyro stabilizer [seakeeper.com] seems simpler

Re:Feedback Compensation Platforms (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39713003)

What, exactly, do you think this is going to do for you in a 120 foot wave?

Sounds complicated. (1)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39713269)

Why not just hang your boat from a balloon?

Navy Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39713495)

I refuse to believe that the US Navy or the English navy were not well aware of rogue waves. there is no ocean on which the US Navy has not spent endless hours, days and months. It would cripple world commerce to actually admit that rogue waves are sort of common. Cruise ship anyone?

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