Study finds rogue waves are fact, not myth

Jul 11, 2006

A German scientist says deadly "rogue waves" of 100 feet or higher are more common than thought.

Such enormous waves -- some taller than a 10-story building -- have, in the past, been considered sea tales, together with sightings of mermaids and sea monsters, The New York Times reported. Scientists say such waves might have been responsible for the mysterious sinking of dozens of large ships and the loss of many lives.

Wolfgang Rosenthal, a German scientist who helped the Paris-based European Space Agency pioneer the study of rogue waves by radar satellite, told the Times he estimates that, at any given moment, 10 of the giant waves are churning through the world's oceans -- especially in regions having powerful currents: the Agulhas off South Africa, the Kuroshio off Japan, and the Gulf Stream off the eastern United States.

Rosenthal says the proliferation of radar satellites should make it possible to better understand rogue waves and, perhaps, predict their occurrence.

"There will be warnings, maybe in 10 years," he told the Times. "It should be possible."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: New tremors raise concern at Japan's Mount Ontake

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New data compression method reduces big-data bottleneck

Dec 19, 2013

(Phys.org) —In creating an entirely new way to compress data, a team of researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has drawn inspiration from physics and the arts. ...

Free-floating planets may be born free

Aug 19, 2013

Tiny, round, cold clouds in space have all the right characteristics to form planets with no parent star. New observations, made with Chalmers University of Technology telescopes, show that not all free-floating ...

Wind mission encounters 'SLAMS' waves

Apr 16, 2013

(Phys.org) —As Earth moves around the sun, it travels surrounded by a giant bubble created by its own magnetic fields, called the magnetosphere. As the magnetosphere plows through space, it sets up a standing ...

Recommended for you

NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

54 minutes ago

NASA and NOAA scientists participating in NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel (HS3) mission used their expert skills, combined with a bit of serendipity on Sept. 17, 2014, to guide the remotely piloted ...

Tropical Storm Rachel dwarfed by developing system 90E

5 hours ago

Tropical Storm Rachel is spinning down west of Mexico's Baja California, and another tropical low pressure area developing off the coast of southwestern Mexico dwarfs the tropical storm. NOAA's GOES-West ...

NASA ocean data shows 'climate dance' of plankton

8 hours ago

The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the growth cycles of phytoplankton—microscopic aquatic plants ...

Glaciers in the grand canyon of Mars?

10 hours ago

For decades, planetary geologists have speculated that glaciers might once have crept through Valles Marineris, the 2000-mile-long chasm that constitutes the Grand Canyon of Mars. Using satellite images, ...

NASA support key to glacier mapping efforts

10 hours ago

Thanks in part to support from NASA and the National Science Foundation, scientists have produced the first-ever detailed maps of bedrock beneath glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. This new data will help ...

User comments : 0