On New Year's Day 1995, an instrument off the coast of Norway measured an 84 meter high rogue wave. Now scientists are producing these waves – albeit in miniature – in the laboratory.
Rogue waves like these are not tsunamis. Instead, they are unexpectedly large waves that occur under a population of smaller waves. As the researchers continue to measure these mysterious events, they hope to get to the bottom of rogue waves.
The 1995 wave, also called Draupner Wave, was the first confirmed "rogue wave" or "Freak Wave" measured by Scientific Equipment. The 84-foot wave was more than twice the average highest waves in the area in which it was recorded. Since then scientists have observed more unusual waves and learned that they are more common. However, it is still unclear how these huge waves without specific environmental forces form like an earthquake to propel them.
The researchers were able to produce a wave with the same steepness as the Draupner wave. of-the-blue scenario with a round tank whose 168-wave makers can send waves in any direction. Usually the waves are limited to a certain height, then they break and the tip breaks over the rest of the waves. The researchers found that waves that crossed at angles of 60 to 120 degrees, the horizontal movement of the water could pick up – the "breaking" of a wave sent the water instead like a jet upwards.
famous Hokusai painting "Great Wave", probably due to a press release. I mean, these are both waves, I think. However, the painting represents a real ocean wave, and the photo captures a small wave generated in a tank in a lab – and this important difference is the main limitation of the study. Sea waves like the Draupner wave or the Hokusai wave occurred in the real world and were influenced by innumerable variables. They are difficult to simplify in simple mathematical equations or laboratory experiments. The causative mechanism behind "Freak Waves" is probably more complex than a laboratory experiment alone will uncover. In fact, the researchers point out in their work that the Draupner measurements should be made with a sea salt grain because they are subject to experimental uncertainty.
However, this experiment adds another factor that needs to be taken into account when discussing strange waves, the researchers write in the paper, which was published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics. They argue that their results better restored the characteristics of the Draupner wave than previous examples, such as this one from 2009.
Nature's freaky, but damn, is not that interesting?