Feeds

Hurricane Ivan prompts rogue wave rethink

100ft waves could be quite common

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Hurricane Ivan generated a wave almost 100ft high last September, as the storm passed over the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists reckon it is the tallest wave ever measured in US waters, and that it would have had enough power to literally break a ship in two.

The wave was so large that it is likely to prompt scientists to rethink their models of wave formation. Current theories do not allow for such monsters to be created, the BBC reports.

The wave never reached land, fortunately, but was recorded by the Naval Research Laboratory's ocean-floor-based pressure sensors. The wave measured a whopping 91 feet, or 27.7 metres from its peak to its trough as it passed over the instruments, and would have been around 600 feet long. However, researchers think the instruments could have missed even bigger waves during the storm.

Large waves - known as rogue waves - are occasionally reported, and have been spotted by European Space Agency satellites. However, the mechanism by which they form is poorly understood, and they were dismissed for a long time as exaggerations or fibs told by sailors.

ESA reports several such encounters: On 1 January 1995 the Draupner oil rig in the North Sea was hit by a wave whose height was measured by an onboard laser device at 26 metres, with the highest waves around it reaching 12 metres. Then, in early 2001, two cruising vessels - the Bremen and the Caledonian Star - had their bridge windows smashed by 30-metre rogue waves in the South Atlantic.

But these waves may not be rogue waves at all: lead author David Wang told the BBC: "Our results suggest that waves in excess of 90 ft are not rogue waves but actually are fairly common during hurricanes."

The research is published in the journal Science. ®

Related stories

Hurricanes thriving on global warming
Hurricane Dennis menaces Shuttle
Giant waves spotted from space

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Dragon capsule arrives at space station for Easter Sunday delivery
SpaceX reports Falcon booster made controlled touchdown in ocean
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.