Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Encountered by USS Ross

Here's a news item in the Palm Beach Post today by AP's David Sharp:

— Cruising through the darkness in rough seas, the USS Ross encountered a rogue wave that smashed into the destroyer's bow, sending a shudder along the entire ship that knocked sleeping crew out of their bunks and damaged the sonar housing.

As alarms sounded, sleepy sailors scrambled to shore up the leak.

"We cracked the hull and kept on going like it was nothing," retired sailor Jonathan Staeblein, of Hagerstown, Md., recalled. In fact, the 510-foot destroyer was never out of service for repairs during any deployment in the three years he served aboard as an electronic warfare technician.

The article was about the destroyer's strong records, but it was inadvertently disclosed that USS Ross encountered a freaque wave that had caused damages without causing service disruption. Unfortunately there was no detail information about the freaque wave encountered. We don't know where or when the encountered took place and we don't know what or how high the freaque wave was. May be someday the details will be come out, at any rate, all we know that an encounter of freaque wave did happen to USS Ross during the last 22 years. So freaque waves have no preferences on who or where to hit. Just someone at the wrong place and the wrong time. They encounter small boats, fishing vessels, cargo ships, cruise ships, and military destroyers all the same! The only thing we can surmise is probably that large ships can sustain damages but survive, smaller vessels certainly could not expect the same. Beyond all the unknowns on where, when, what, how or why, the chance for an encounter is still relatively low, so just hope for the best and pray!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happened at Thurlestone Sands beach

Here's a frightening story with a happy ending happened at Thurlestone Sands beach in South devon of southeast England as reported in thisisderbyshire.com.uk:

A COUPLE almost died after they were swept into the sea while on holiday in Devon.

Stephen and Jean Baines, of Main Road, Smalley, were enjoying a trip to the beach when a series of large waves carried them and their dog into the water.

Mr Baines, who walks on crutches, managed to grab hold of his wife's hand as they struggled in the water before quickly losing strength and his grip on her.

The 62-year-old, who runs Smalley Stores, said: "We were less than minutes from death.

According to the report:

The couple were on Thurlestone Sands, in South Devon, a beach which they have visited for the past 25 years, during a holiday to celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary.

Mrs Baines had gone onto the beach with their Golden Retriever, Bailey, while her husband watched them from the steps.

She was swept out to sea as she stood watching the dog playing in the surf.

In the words of Mrs. Baines: "I remember being taken up on a wave and knocked up and down on it. I could feel myself starting to go unconscious." That's frightening! Here's more from the report:

Mr Baines said: "There was a freak wave which crashed on to the beach and went right round her and then straight away another massive wave came and knocked her off her balance and then a third one took her into the sea.

"It was so surreal. Frightening is not the word."

Mr Baines managed to get down onto the sand but fell to his hands and knees as a result of his disability.

At that moment another wave carried him into the water.

He said: "It swallowed me up. I got hold of Jean's hand and I was shouting "fight it, Jean, fight it".

"I could feel her fingers going out of mine and then the next wave took her and went over me and I lay in the water.

"I saw her being washed about like a rag doll."

Fortunately here's the heartwarming part of the story:
Moments later, the couple were rescued by local residents who took them ashore and wrapped them in blankets while they waited for the ambulance.
It was an ordinary beach going on a leisure holiday, we can not say it's unexpected. Certainly no one expects things like this will happen. But it does happen and happens on beaches all around the globe. We don't know where, when, how or why. Mrs. Baines may not realize what was happening when it happened. This time Mr. Baines observed clearly that ". . . a freak wave which crashed on to the beach and went right round her and then straight away another massive wave came and knocked her off her balance and then a third one took her into the sea." Just be aware, it may or may not be similarly occur next time when you take a stroll along the beach. But please don't let your guard down!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lorne beach waves

As an ocean waves aficionado, I always interested in different descriptions of wave conditions. How do you describe a beach wave that's not strong, vigorous, or powerful? How about this way:
the waves coming into shore from the big Southern Ocean are but the afterglow of violence. Robust but a little messy, unspectacular. They don't so much break as peter out - or collapse half-made. Small fitful dumpers.
which is from an article about surfing at Lorne Beach, Great Ocean Road of Australia by John Elder in The Age. I was in Lorne two years ago attending a conference organized by my friend Alex. We stayed at a hotel by Lorne beach. I remember the peaceful, tranquil, and less than spectacular beach scenes. They were certainly not North Shore of Oahu, but I never thought of the descriptors as "afterglow of violence", "collapse half-made", or "small fitful dumpers". I wonder if they ever have freaque waves come to the beach. May be the local people are smart enough to avoid them. If a freaque wave come to shore and no one there to encounter it, is it still a freaque wave?

The gift of surf

In an article today in the Hawaii Star Bulletin by Rob Shikina that includes this surf picture by Cindy Ellen Russell :
along with this:
On a day when giant surf pounded Oahu's North Shore, one wave at Waimea Bay stood above the rest.

"It broke about 100 yards outside of the surfers," said one lifeguard who estimated the freak wave at higher than 40 feet (face value).

"Everybody in the lineup was cleaned," the lifeguard said.

Ocean Safety Lt. John Hoogsteden said about 20 surfers were in the water and that some 10 boards were damaged or broken by the wave.

In the aftermath, lifeguards on a personal watercraft pulled about 15 surfers out of the ocean.

"It was the biggest wave," said Sylvain Cazenave, who was taking photos when the wave hit at about 1:30 p.m. yesterday.

Cazenave, who has been visiting the North Shore from France every year since 1980, said the surfers could not get out of its way.

"Those guys were paddling very fast, but they all got nailed," he said. "Many boards were broken."

Now here are some side effects of big waves:
. . . lifeguards were busy. On the island's north and west sides, lifeguards gave 2,400 warnings, made 25 rescues and assisted 20 people to shore by 3 p.m., said Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokesman Bryan Cheplic.

At least two surfers were injured at Waimea Bay. One suffered a head injury and another a hamstring injury, lifeguards said.

Traffic on Kamehameha Highway slowed to a standstill near Waimea Bay yesterday as spectators gathered along the road and at the beach to watch the surf.

plus this rather surprising effect:

But the large surf also repaired some beach erosion.

Van Der Leeden said high surf during the Eddie Aikau big-wave contest earlier this month took about 15 feet of sand from Sunset Beach, forcing the city to remove a lifeguard stand from its concrete foundation and replace it with a temporary lifeguard stand on skids.

Yesterday's swell brought back about 10 feet of sand, he said.

"The swell brought us a Christmas present," he said.

Waves have always been blamed for beach erosion. How about that? Giant waves can also bring back sands! You win some, you lose some. Nature has her own way of handling things. No need for headless-jackass kind of "blame the human" human to pretend to be able to meddle the nature process -- they can only make things worse. The Star Bulletin ably entitled this article "The gift of surf" I guess it is because 'tis the season of gift giving. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


(from Deacon Keith Fournier)

On this one wonderful day called "Christ-Mass" the entire world rightly pauses. Heaven has come to earth so that earth can be brought to heaven. The great event of Christmas touches every man, woman and child. The entire world is again presented with the Christian claim---"the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

Let those of us who have embraced the truth of this claim now manifest- in our own lives and families- the fruits of the Incarnation. Let us become a Christmas people and offer through our lives of love the greatest gift of all. Let us continue to manifest the beauty of the Incarnation to a world that still waits to be born.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

4th Sunday of Advent


Turn again, LORD of hosts; look down from heaven and see;
Attend to this vine, the shoot your right hand has planted.
Those who would burn or cut it down
-- may they perish at your rebuke.
May your help be with the man at your right hand,
with the one whom you once made strong.
Then we will not withdraw from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.
LORD of hosts, restore us;
let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
(Ps 80:15-20)

Waking up to a shipwreck

Here's part of a story in the Japan Times Online by Winifred Bird:
It's not every morning that a 169-meter-long ship gets knocked over by a giant wave and lands like a beached whale virtually outside the front door of your quiet seaside home.


The ill-fated Ariake had set out from Tokyo the previous evening bound for Okinawa. By 5 a.m. it was making its way through a storm off the shores of southern Mie Prefecture when it was blindsided by a huge rogue wave.

As the boat listed from the impact of countless tons of North Pacific, its cargo — including, among more weighty items, a consignment of the latest issue of the popular manga, Jump — broke free, slid to one side, and dragged the starboard half of the boat underwater.

The captain then maneuvered the crippled ship as close to the shore as he could. By 10 a.m. that morning, all seven passengers and 21 crew had been safely plucked from the deck by a rescue helicopter, but the vessel itself was here to stay, like a rather large nautical gnome suddenly camped out in one's rosebed.
Mie Prefecture (δΈ‰ι‡ηœŒ), is in the southern Japan according to this Wikipedia picture:


I am sure this is not the first nor the last freaque wave encounter ever happened near Japan. But this is the first reported by a western reporter who obviously lives there nearby. That's probably why the article is entitled "Waking up to a shipwreck" and regrettably no other details about the freaque wave that was encountered. But it did happen and fortunately all passengers and crew are safe, that's comforting to know!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The encounter of RMS Lusitania

The next issue, January 2010 issue, of Scientific America carries the follow news from the magazine 100 years ago:
WAVE VS. SHIP— “Was it a last despairing protest of Old Ocean, when he lifted his giant hand in the blackness of night on January 10, and smote the Cunard liner ‘Lu­sitania’ a blow which racked and splintered her lofty bridge and pilot house, 75 feet above the sea, and crushed down her forecastle deck and decks beneath, giving them a permanent depression of several inches? When the mass of the wave struck the breastworks and pilot house, every one of the stout wooden storm windows was burst in, the woodwork being stripped clean to the sashes—and this, be it remembered, at an elevation of 75 feet above the normal sea level. We are inclined to agree with her captain in his belief that many smaller and less stoutly built ships which have disappeared utterly at sea, may have been sent to the bottom by the crushing in of their decks under so-called ‘tidal waves’ of these dimensions.”
with the following footnote:
[NOTE: The Lusitania survived the rogue wave but was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat five years later.]
I guess the fact given in the above footnote that she was torpedoed by a German U-Boat is well-known at the time, while the encounter of Lusitania with a freaque wave seems not. But actually the New York Times on Sunday, January 16, 1910 has a detailed Page 1 story entitled "Lusitania Battled by 80-Foot Wave " with this relevant description:
On Monday evening, when the Lusitania was plowing through high head sea, whipped up by the westerly gale, an accumulative wave struck the vessel. She was buried in a mountain of water. . .
and
"When I left the bridge," said Capt. Turner, "the vessel was going nicely through the high head seas. The wave came as a surprise. The ship was going down when she met the sea, and it is hard to estimate the height of the wave. The water came to the top of the wheel house, which is 80 feet above the deck. I have heard of tidal and accumulative wave before, but I never met one in my experience."
So the expression "a mountain of water" has been around at least from a 100 years ago -- long before freaque (freak or rogue) had become a household media word. It is interesting to see the descriptions they struggled to use in the old days: tidal, accumulative wave, and high head sea. That was nevertheless an unmistakable freaque wave Lusitania encountered. It is also of interest to note that the encounter of Lusitanis had been missed from recent studies when they tried to account for known cases of freaque wave encounters.

By the way, here's a picture of RMS Lusitania:


It is rather sad that people generally did not pay much attention to her freaque wave encounter when there were only minor damage and injuries. Only when they were torpedoed by the German U-Boat were they managed to become the second most famous case after Titanic.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

100 reasons to contend with!

European Foundation just issued 100 reasons why climate change is nature and not man-made according to this UK Daily Express article. Here are some:
2) Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history.

3) Warmer periods of the Earth’s history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels.

4) After World War II, there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.

5) Throughout the Earth’s history, temperatures have often been warmer than now and CO2 levels have often been higher – more than ten times as high.
Just this few has already convinced me that the author or authors of this list know scientifically what they are talking about. There are other things on this list may not be scientific reason but facts that alarmists wish to hide from people. For instance these:
11) Politicians and activiists claim rising sea levels are a direct cause of global warming but sea levels rates have been increasing steadily since the last ice age 10,000 ago.
19) A petition by scientists trying to tell the world that the political and media portrayal of global warming is false was put forward in the Heidelberg Appeal in 1992. Today, more than 4,000 signatories, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from 106 countries have signed it.

33) Today’s CO2 concentration of around 385 ppm is very low compared to most of the earth’s history – we actually live in a carbon-deficient atmosphere
.

44) The historical increase in the air’s CO2 content has improved human nutrition by raising crop yields during the past 150 years.

56) The manner in which US President Barack Obama sidestepped Congress to order emission cuts shows how undemocratic and irrational the entire international decision-making process has become with regards to emission-target setting.

66) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had emailed one another about using a “trick” for the sake of concealing a “decline” in temperatures when looking at the history of the Earth’s temperature.

74) To date “cap and trade” carbon markets have done almost nothing to reduce emissions.

89) It is a myth that CO2 is a pollutant, because nitrogen forms 80% of our atmosphere and human beings could not live in 100% nitrogen either: CO2 is no more a pollutant than nitrogen is and CO2 is essential to life.

100) A report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change concluded “We find no support for the IPCC’s claim that climate observations during the twentieth century are either unprecedented or provide evidence of an anthropogenic effect on climate.”
Please go read the whole list and ask yourself, why would you ever think scoundrels like Algore and his UN goons can say anything meaningful in the first place.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3rd Sunday of Advent

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

(Phil 4:4-7)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Deconstructing Global Warming

I was searching on Youtube for "Hide the decline", by luck or by chance, I came across the following:



the video of a lecture given by MIT Prof. Lindzen in late October. Lindzen was among the 141 scientists demanding scientific proof of man made glabal warming I blogged about yesterday. A good source about the details of this video can be found from here or here. If you can spare 55 minute of your time, this will be the most educationally rewarding experience you'll ever have. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Global warming is not a settled science! Prove it is scientifically if you disagree.

No one in the Obamanian Media report this but there are 141 world true heavy-weight concerned scientists sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General challenging the political notion and demand proof. Here's the letter. American people can now read and make your own decision. No matter what please don't let politicians fool you anymore!

8 December 2009

Dear Secretary-General,

Climate change science is in a period of ‘negative discovery’ - the more we learn about this exceptionally complex and rapidly evolving field the more we realize how little we know. Truly, the science is NOT settled.

Therefore, there is no sound reason to impose expensive and restrictive public policy decisions on the peoples of the Earth without first providing convincing evidence that human activities are causing dangerous climate change beyond that resulting from natural causes. Before any precipitate action is taken, we must have solid observational data demonstrating that recent changes in climate differ substantially from changes observed in the past and are well in excess of normal variations caused by solar cycles, ocean currents, changes in the Earth's orbital parameters and other natural phenomena.

We the undersigned, being qualified in climate-related scientific disciplines, challenge the UNFCCC and supporters of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to produce convincing OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE for their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming and other changes in climate. Projections of possible future scenarios from unproven computer models of climate are not acceptable substitutes for real world data obtained through unbiased and rigorous scientific investigation.

Specifically, we challenge supporters of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change to demonstrate that:

  1. Variations in global climate in the last hundred years are significantly outside the natural range experienced in previous centuries;
  2. Humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHG) are having a dangerous impact on global climate;
  3. Computer-based models can meaningfully replicate the impact of all of the natural factors that may significantly influence climate;
  4. Sea levels are rising dangerously at a rate that has accelerated with increasing human GHG emissions, thereby threatening small islands and coastal communities;
  5. The incidence of malaria is increasing due to recent climate changes;
  6. Human society and natural ecosystems cannot adapt to foreseeable climate change as they have done in the past;
  7. Worldwide glacier retreat, and sea ice melting in Polar Regions , is unusual and related to increases in human GHG emissions;
  8. Polar bears and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife are unable to adapt to anticipated local climate change effects, independent of the causes of those changes;
  9. Hurricanes, other tropical cyclones and associated extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency;
  10. Data recorded by ground-based stations are a reliable indicator of surface temperature trends.

It is not the responsibility of ‘climate realist’ scientists to prove that dangerous human-caused climate change is not happening. Rather, it is those who propose that it is, and promote the allocation of massive investments to solve the supposed ‘problem’, who have the obligation to convincingly demonstrate that recent climate change is not of mostly natural origin and, if we do nothing, catastrophic change will ensue. To date, this they have utterly failed to do so.

Take a look at the list 141 honorable and honest scientists who signed the challenging letter here. They may not be able to break through crooked politicians and their science goons' stone walling. Our life may still be disrupted by the crooks. But at least we know now there are still realistic, honorable and honest scientists exist in this world. So there is hope for the future!

Surf wave is not freaque

Holly Anderson of the SB*NATION has this to say today:
Whatever you're doing right now, it cannot be as cool as what's going on at the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau, kicked off today at Waimea Bay on Oahu's north shore. It's an invitational surfing competition that's as rare as it is revered, held only when waves in the bay reach 30 feet in height. Known by its more manageable name, the Eddie, it's named for a beloved local surfer and lifeguard lost at sea in 1978.
For those of us not fortunate to go to Waimea, Hawaii right now, we can still fortunate enough to follow the event on the internet. Here's a picture of group surfing at the wave crest from BBC News:

and here they are, moments later from Korva Coleman of NPR:

Hey they started with six, there's one missing. What happened? Oh well, they all have a good time as these people, again from BBC News:

And so are we!

When a freaque wave hit . . .

What happen when you got hit by a large freaque wave? Well, in the article by Kate Dwyer of Camden Courier has a lively answer:

TAKING ‘Time Out’ proved a risky business for father and son sailors Col and Aaron Purton last week.

The experienced yachtsmen were sailing their newly-purchased Top Hat 25 from Trial Bay to Sydney for renovation in preparation for its future as a family fun cruiser on Sydney Harbour.

After mooring overnight in the Camden Haven they rose early Thursday morning with news of favourable conditions to cross the bar and continue their southward journey.

After crossing the bar safely their yacht ‘Time Out’ was hit by a large freak wave.

“It stood us on our end and we came smashing down,” said Aaron.

Yes, “It stood us on our end and we came smashing down” is one case that had really happened. No one can make it up unless you were there. The father and son sailors in Dwyer's story were lucky, they had a third radio on board. Only their boat "Time Out" sustained some damage that needs to be repaired. There might be plenty of other possibilities that can be worse. We'll never know for certain what might happen when a freaque wave hit. Just be prepared as much as possible and pray!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Freaqueness of climategate reporting

Two weeks ago I blogged a non-freaque wave item on the climategate case that was disturbed the climate science world but not yet in main stream news news. Most of the science news sites: EurekAlert, Science Daily, and New Scientist, for instance are all still not reporting it to this day. It is of interest to note that Science News, which is also not reporting, but interestingly to the news articles on Copenhagen climate change meeting there inevitably propelled some readers comments on climategate nevertheless. Here's a sober example by SN subscriber James Hutchinson:
I agree with the above comments. I have been a subscriber to SN for over 30 years, confident in its reporting. If I do not see in its pages some fair coverage of the genuine scandal that is climategate, I will have no choice but to cancel my subscription. And I recommend everyone who calls him/her self a scientist to do the same. Science MUST NOT be a political tool, no matter the pressure, and science reporting must report, not influence. The truth will out.
I guess I am surprised and disappointed that Science News should allow themselves to fall into a pitiful position they are in now. Another reader has this advice for SN:
This is just disgusting. How can you have this artcle on Copenhagen and not mention that, as has been dicovered by climategate, we may be asking the world to spend billions of dollars for nothing. I know you guys are smarter than this. This is as simple as follow the money. Get off this train before the wreck.
I hope SN and science writers would listen! But I have to go to Pravda to find some sagacious comments by a Mr. Gregory Fegel on what's in store:

‘Climategate’ is not an ordinary case of falsifying data by a few rogue scientists. The fraudulent theory of Global Warming has provided the basis for an international political movement which has the stated goal of completely restructuring the entire global economy based on that fraudulent theory. ‘Global Warming’ is a con game perpetrated by dishonest scientists and the government and corporate leaders who provide the corrupt scientists with opportunities for advancement.

If we fail to stop the further politicization and institutionalization of the fraudulent theory of Global Warming, we will most certainly experience a future of ‘science’ controlled by government decree and of a world government that facilitates the operations of corporate industries while imposing severe restrictions and arbitrary taxes on the general public.

That is a future which would fully justify resistance and rebellion among the international populations who will be the victims of this massive global fraud. If we fail to stop this fraudulent enterprise by legal means, we will certainly have a future of global oppression based on fraud, with its attendant institutionalized crimes, and whatever popular backlash might eventually result.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Rock fisherman survived a freaque wave encounter

This New Zealand case happened two weeks ago as reported by TVNZ:

A man watched in horror as his mate was swept off the rocks at a remote Dunedin fishing spot and drifted out to sea on Wednesday.

After 20 minutes in the chilling sea, 30-year-old Glenn Coleman was picked up by a passing fishing boat.

Both his ankles were broken and he had suffered a badly gashed knee.

Coleman, a freezing worker, and his mate Allen Taylor had taken the day off to go fishing near the lighthouse at Cape Saunders east of the Dunedin.

Taylor has told the Otago Daily Times how he saw Coleman lifted off the rocks by a rogue wave and dragged out to sea.

He said he felt "so helpless" as he had nothing to throw to Coleman to assist him and was "not that flash a swimmer".

Taylor ran for 20 minutes to reach an area with cellphone coverage and called police, who contacted a nearby fishing boat, which then picked up Coleman.

The man had been carried about 100m out to sea.

Both ankles broken and a badly gashed knee, but Mr. Coleman is lucky to be alive and there's a fishing boat nearby, thanks to his friend Mr. Taylor who ran for 20 minutes for help. This case demonstrated once again the importance of never, ever be out there alone! Being "swept off the rocks " by a wave is something to be expected -- not unexpected. I assume they all wore life jackets. That's another "must" no matter what! Thank God for these lucky survival stories, we can be lucky but we have to make certain and taking all the necessary precautions!

2nd Sunday of Advent

A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

(Lk 3:4-6)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Happened at HMAS Canberra site

One of the typical reportage of freaque wave cases in the news is just the mention of freaque wave as the culprit but without any details. The report today in Herald Sun of Australia by David Hastie is no exception:
A FREAK wave has capsized the first dive boat to moor at the controversial HMAS Canberra site, which opened this morning.

Four people on board the 7m boat were swept into the water early this morning after the vessel capsized off the coast of Ocean Grove.

The coastguard was required to haul the dive team and their boat back to Queenscliff.

No one was injured, police said.

We have no doubt that it happened and it was a freaque wave that might have caused it. I guess it will be too much to expect further informations beyond what was reported. It's just not amenable to be useful for any possible scientific studies. Anyway, the good news from this brief news is that "No one was injured"! Hope we can say the same for all cases.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Simulating wave hitting ocean platform

In the ITWire this morning, there's the following report by William Atkins:
Australian scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have created virtual ocean waves over twenty meters tall in order to test how different types of oil and gas rigs withstand the real monster waves that impact them in the open sea.

These virtually designed ocean waves crash into virtually made semi-submersible oil and gas production platforms in order to compare how the different mooring designs stand up to the force of the impacts.

The offshore platforms (sometimes also called oil and gas rigs) are large structures that house workers and equipment needed to drill wells into the ocean bed.

The wells are then used to extract oil or natural gas for processing on the mainland. These platforms may be fixed to the ocean floor or may float on the ocean surface.

The oil and gas rigs have to withstand rogue waves, which are sometimes also commonly called monster waves, killer waves, and other such descriptive names. These monster waves are extra large ocean surface waves that are serious threats to offshore platforms, along with ships sailing the seas.
The article was based on CSIRO news release and this image page where the following video was downloaded.

video

This is a very impressive computer simulation of what might happen when a freaque wave hits the platform. The question immediately come to my mind is how realistic this simulation can be? One can nitpicking about the wave was not breaking and lack of follow up waves. But this is a brilliant start. The important issue remains to be that we don't know what is really happening out there. Measurements and more measurements are pressingly needed to help improve this kind of studies. More important is that single point measurements as presently practiced will be most definitely inadequate and may even be useless for realistic freaque wave studies. When can we expect new generation of wave measurements to re-energize the true ocean wave studies?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Ellan Vannin Tragedy

The Liverpool Echo of U.K. has an article today by Peter Elson reporting the tragedy of Ellan Vannin 100 years ago:

IT was not a maritime tragedy on a par with the Titanic or Lusitania. But in its own way, the dreadful fate of the Manx steamer Ellan Vannin and the 36 souls who died in her, deserve to be remembered just as keenly.

Tomorrow is the centenary of this little ship’s mysterious sinking, within sight of Crosby on December 3, 1909.

with this detail:

Ellan Vannin, sailing from Ramsey, Isle of Man, to Liverpool was overwhelmed by a freak wave in one of the worst storms of the century.

A force-11 hurricane gale sent 25ft high waves crashing over Mersey Bar, where she foundered.

In the list of freaque wave encounters I compiled when I first started this blog, this case was missed from the list. The list was later published in Geofizika, 24(1), 2007 also with this case missing. Now the list has been added and an addendum to the publication will be prepared.

The case is clearly well known locally in the Liverpool, Irish Sea area. I found the following Youtube song by the Spinners:




In particular I would like to use these lines from the song:
Less than a mile from the Bar lightship,
By a mighty wave Ellen Vannen was hit.
She sank in the waters of Liverpool Bay,
And there she lies until this day.
to commemorate the tragic case caused by a freaque wave 100 years ago.

As a matter of fact, here's New York Times reporting this case on December 5, 1909:

Somehow New York Times was not very accurate with numbers even 100 years ago. There were 15 passengers and 21 crew members for a total of 36 souls as reported in Liverpool Echo above. Has New York Times ever been trustworthy?


Update 12/4/2009

This from today's Liverpool Daily Post:

IT WAS only a rose, but each blood-red bloom represented a lost soul. In all, 36 roses were cast over the side of the Mersey ferry Snowdrop to mark the deaths of 36 people lost on the Manx steamer, Ellan Vannin.

Yesterday’s remembrance service was 100 years to the day the small steamer was overwhelmed by a freak wave at the Mersey Bar.

The 21 crew and 14 passengers were sailing from Ramsey, IoM, on December 3, 1909, and witnesses saw the ship’s lights snuffed out as she foundered off Crosby.

. . .

The Steam Packet owned Ellan Vannin and, as the tragedy was the worst Manx maritime disaster, her name was never reused.