Monday, April 25, 2011

Another tragedy, another place!

Similar story. familiar plot, another tragedy, another place! As reported in Herald Sun it happened yesterday at the rocks at South Australia's Kangaroo Island:

Five men and a woman from Melbourne and an Adelaide man had walked on to the rocks at Point Ellen, the western headland of Vivonne Bay, about 60km from Kingscote.

One said they had been watching the sea and admiring the view for a few minutes.

The two men had their backs to the ocean and were about to have their photograph taken.

"It was a larger wave, and it (the wave) was a shock for everyone," the friend said.

The other members of the group were forced to jump to safety. When they turned back, both the men had been swept out to sea.

Neither could swim.

Nuriootpa visitor Bill King helped retrieve one of the men's bodies from the well-known holiday spot and fishing area.

"We came to admire the view and we saw people looking out to sea," he said.

"A body was floating out. and a bloke swam out and put a life buoy on him and we brought it in."

A doctor and a woman performed CPR on one of the men for several minutes, but he couldn't be revived.

The men's bodies were recovered about 5pm.

One of the men was believed to be an engineering student.

Constable Craig Oates, from Kangaroo Island police, said: "The men had gone on to the rocks to take a photo. A large wave swept two of them into the water."
Let's do the only thing we can do for now: pray for God's mercy and blessing for the souls of the victims, may they rest in peace!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Freaque wave with a bang!

Here's a scary story with a happy ending, reported by Damian Bathersby in Sunshine Coast Daily of Australia, that had happened over three months ago:

BLOOD pumping from his foot, Jeff Kitchen was tossed through the dirty water like a rag doll.

“I remember the wave ... then a big bang like someone putting a gun next to your ear and pulling the trigger,” he said.

“Then I woke up and I was underwater.”

The Noosa Coast Guard boat had just been flipped by a massive wave on a notorious bar.

Jeff collided with the propeller as he and three others were smashed by the freak wave.

It cut through his foot, from ankle to toes.

He pulled the emergency cord on his life jacket and floated to the surface.

Jeff said he had no doubts he would have died from blood loss had it not been for a nearby surf lifesaving jet boat, which snatched him from the pounding surf within minutes.

More lifesavers arrived at the scene to rescue two of the coast guard crew who had been trapped under the flipped vessel, and a fourth crew member who had dived clear of the craft.

Jeff does not remember much else from the January 15 accident.

After almost two months in hospitals for surgeries to save his foot, Jeff is back home and on a long road to recovery.

Now I think the important part of the case is Mr. Kitchen's first comment: “I remember the wave ... then a big bang like someone putting a gun next to your ear and pulling the trigger”. Because here's again something that has not yet received any attention in the academic research world -- the sound effect! While I usually skeptical on people's general claim of encountering a freaque wave, I wish they could tell me more details than just the claim. But in this case Mr. Kitchen remembers the big bang. I think that's the one important detail many people involved might be easily overlooked. So I think this is a real freaque wave case that just came to light. I wish to congratulate Mr. Kitchen's grit on his full speedy recovery, his riverboat wedding, and a long everlasting happy marriage life!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

World oceans in a nutshell!

Here's an interesting site I just came across that's entitled "The World's Biggest Oceans and Seas." It starts with this rather unusual satellite picture:

and continues with pictures and explanations of the top ten: The Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern, and Arctic oceans, and Arabian, South China, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Bearing Seas in reverse order. I have never seen them being presented all together with pictures like this before. I find it is very informative and educational for me. I just can't help wondering at any given moment, how many freaque waves might be happening in all of these bodies of water? How can we ever make a concerted effort of measuring any of them? If we don't measure them, how can we ever really know what is going on out there?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Disaster aftermath

There was a terrific article in late March in the Financial Times by their Asian Managing Editor, David Pilling, entitled "Japan: the aftermath". In there he provided detailed personal on-site observations of this historical disaster. I was particularly impressed with this reporting:
When I talk to people, many of them fishermen, they scoff at reports that the tsunami was 10m tall. No, they say, this one was at least 20m, perhaps 23 or even 24. One man swears it must have been 30. However high it was, it crashed in like a wild beast, breaching the once-formidable tsunami-defence wall, parts of which now lay toppled on the ground. The water picked up houses and boats and cars and people. It then sucked back before lunging at the town again, the debris in its churning waters now transformed into lethal weapons that smashed through walls and metal and teeth and bones.

The tsunami that attacked Ofunato was the terrible progeny of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the fourth largest in recorded history, which struck some 70 miles off Japan’s Tohoku coast at 2.46pm on March 11. When the tsunami started its life out at sea, reports said, it was travelling at 500 miles an hour, the speed of an aircraft. As it approached the shoreline, it slowed, first to the speed of a bullet train, then to that of a car and finally to that of an athlete. Still, for those who had not managed to flee to higher ground, its progress was unstoppable and its vengeance was swift.

I can only attempt to describe the devastation it left behind. . . .
And he certainly did an absolutely superb job in describing them masterfully. Please read his original article: It is definitely well worth the time!

Today The Sun published a terrifying video that shows the vivid terror of tsunami attack, that of "the water picked up houses and boats and cars and people, . . ."

Against the onslaught of tsunami forces, the human creature just seemed totally helpless, hapless, and hopeless! As we earnestly pray for the people victimized by this disaster, we can not help but sincerely thank Almighty God for keeping us away from the disasters. Hope the human ingenuity can be successful in making accurate and efficient predictions someday to minimize theses human tragic happenings !

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Not easy to be a rescuer

It is certainly not easy to be a rescuer as this New Zealand case reported by Kate Saunders in Taraanaki News:
A rogue wave flipped two rescuers as they tried to help a kite surfer off Waitara yesterday.

The Waitara Surf Lifesaving IRB was launched just before 4pm after three kite surfers got into trouble when winds changed off the outer reef.

Acting Senior Sergeant Royston Betteridge said police were called by a member of the public and by the time they arrived two of the men had made it back to shore.

"The third man was in the water for quite some time, but when the IRB went out to get him it got into difficulty and flipped, which caused it to lose power."

Because of the low tide and conditions, other boats could not be sent out, he said.

"They had all their safety gear on, so they were in no real danger. It was unfortunate that they went to help and they ended up having engine problems."

The crew flipped the vessel back over and swam it back into shore – ironically with the help of the third kite surfer, who they had been sent to pick up.

After starting on the New Plymouth side of the sand bar, they washed up 200 metres along the beach, on the Urenui side.

Mr Betteridge said the kite surfers had been caught off guard by a changing offshore wind. It is believed one of the men lost about $2000 worth of kite surfing gear.
We know this is happened in shallower water nearshore during low tide, as usual there is no further information than just calling it a rogue wave. But luckily this case ends with everybodybeing safe and sound, a happy ending. Thanks be to God!

By the way, according to Wikipedia, Waitara is the name of a town and a river in the northern part of the Taranaki Region of the North Island of New Zealand.

Friday, April 08, 2011

An ultimate extreme surf spot list just published an interesting article headlined with this intriguing picture. The article provided a list of carefully picked "ultimate extreme surf spot" that included a video of actual local waves for each spot. It is not only useful for the surfers but also for wave watchers and wave aficionados who are simply fascinated by the waves in general. The article calls the waves shown on the video "insane wave" that certainly makes the list and videos a valuable source of enjoyment for wave watcher like me. Now the question in my mind is in what role can science play in these "insane wave" processes? Oh well, just enjoy them will be sufficient for now!

This week!

This past week I have been in Vienna, Austria attending the EGU2011 where my friends Prof Alex Babanin started a successful new Wind Waves session this year, and Prof. Efim Pelinovsky organized yearly Extreme Sea Waves session is again in full blooming. This afternoon there was a very active poster paper session, all the old and new friends were there mingling and enjoying the final intellectual swing. It was my good fortune to have the opportunity meeting two brilliant young Russian scientists, both are Pelinovsky’s students. To my exceeding surprise that they both admitted reading my blog, yes this blog, and kindly encouraged me to continue doing it. Thank you so very much, Ira and Irina. I have been doing this blog for my own information and amusement as a personal blog. I really had never expected that there are actually people out there interested in reading this blog at all. Now I have to brag about it, you made my day!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Hokusai in politics!

I guess it is inevitable that sooner or later wave will be used in political cartoons sometime. But this Hokusai is a good one, it's not political, it's common sense! Why couldn't the politicians so generous with other people's hard earned money recognize it? Thumb up to Mr. Michael Ramirez.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Happened at Blackpool seaside

Here's another depressing case just happened at Blackpool seaside and reported in
A man has died after being hit by a freak wave in Blackpool, despite desperate search and rescue attempt.

The victim was standing on steps near the resort's Cocker Square, close to the water's edge, when he was swept away in front of shocked onlookers.

Officials said a huge rescue mission was launched with coastguard officers from Blackpool and Lytham St Annes joined by a helicopter from RAF Valley and Blackpool RNLI inshore lifeboats.

The man, aged 44, was eventually recovered from the water and taken ashore to a waiting ambulance.

However, he was confirmed dead at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Su Daintith, Watch Manager at Liverpool Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said: 'The man, we believe, was about to enter the water at the bottom of the seawall steps when he was swept off without any warning by a large wave which was a result of the overnight weather conditions

'Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this tragic time'
This case is depressing because it is so unreal. The man was ready for the water, how can he lost his life this way? Ah! that's the freaque part of the freaque wave. "He was swept off without any warning by a large wave" as the news report indicated. No one knows what really happened yet. This is not an unheard-of case. A possible scenario is that the victim might have hit his head when he was being swept off unexpectedly. We'll never know the force and how extensive the force might impose. Many tragic cases had happened similarly over the years all around the world. We don't know how to predict it and we don't know how to prevent it. It is depressing just to think about it!

For those of us who's not familiar with the area, Blackpool, as shown by the picture at the beginning of this post, is a seaside town in northwest England, 30 miles (48 km) north of Liverpool, and 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester according to Wikipedia.