Monday, November 26, 2012

Another beach sweeping -- sadly three lives lost!

This is a rather disturbing sad story reported by Oregon's KTVL News10 (The original text which this blog was copied from is no longer available, fortunately it's not long and here's the entire news as reported.) :

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) -- A couple is dead and their 16-year-old son missing after being swept into the sea in Northern California while trying to save their dog.
A state Parks and Recreation superintendent said the family was at a beach north of Eureka Saturday afternoon when the dog was pulled into the water by ten foot waves while chasing after a stick.
Jones said the boy went after the dog, prompting his father to go after them. She said the teenager was able to get out, but when he didn't see his father, he and his mother went into the water looking for him.
Rescuers retrieved the mother's body and the father's body washed up. The Coast Guard is still searching for the son.
 The dog survived.

My immediate reaction to the story is a feeling of waste.  What a waste of lives! All three member of a happy family lost their lives in trying to save the dog and failed but the dog survived! The lesson to learn here is when you go to the beach, LEAVE THE DOG HOME! If you do take your dog to the beach and the dog got swept into sea by a wave remember THE DOG CAN HANDLE ITSELF BETTER THAN YOU! SAVE YOURSELF FIRST! Really it's not worth to risk your own life after the dog! Especially when the dog "was pulled into the water by ten foot waves while chasing after a stick."  This is not the first case the owner of dog lost life trying to save the dog on a beach while the dog later came back alive and well. Please, please, please make this the last one that'll happen -- though it may not be realistic, but let's just hope!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Thanksgiving tragedy at Pompano Beach, Florida

This news from the UK DailyMail today:
A Thanksgiving outing on a dive boat in Pompano Beach, Florida, turned deadly when a rogue wave overturned the vessel, hurling all 23 people on board into the water and killing one of the passengers.
The victim, identified as 54-year-old Nina Poppelsdorf,, a diving expert from New Mexico, was pulled from the water and rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokeswoman Sandra King said the vessel, carrying 21 divers and two crew members, was heading back to the dock after a half-day diving trip when a massive wave suddenly came and capsized it on Thursday afternoon just outside Hillsboro Inlet.

Read more:
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A Thanksgiving outing on a dive boat in Pompano Beach, Florida, turned deadly when a rogue wave overturned the vessel, hurling all 23 people on board into the water and killing one of the passengers.
The victim, identified as 54-year-old Nina Poppelsdorf,, a diving expert from New Mexico, was pulled from the water and rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokeswoman Sandra King said the vessel, carrying 21 divers and two crew members, was heading back to the dock after a half-day diving trip when a massive wave suddenly came and capsized it on Thursday afternoon just outside Hillsboro Inlet.
Now may be the relevant news is this:
'The wave caught it from behind and it flipped as [the captain] was coming in the harbor,' an unidentified passenger told ABC News.
'He was trying to time it. He didn't time it right and then it just flipped.'
And another eyewitness:
Eyewitness Skip Morris, 58, said the wave's impact sent the passengers flying into the water, adding that he believed the tragedy could have been avoided if only the captain had waited for the breaking waves to settle before trying to approach the dock.
Whatever with one life lost it is a tragedy caused by a large unexpected, but noticed freaque wave when the boat entering the harbor. We wish to extend our condolence to Mrs. Poppelsdorf's family and may her rest in peace.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Videos of large ferocious Lake Michigan waves

As a desk-top wave watcher I am particularly thrilled to find this short video on YouTube described as "20-25 foot waves smash into the seawall in Chicago between Belmont and Montrose Harbors. Video was shot near dawn on October 20th, 2011."

And this one that appears to have taken around 2007.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Anatomy of a Freaque Wave on Oregon Coast

I come across this very nice article today published online in the site called the, which as far as I can surmise is a travel oriented site for Oregon coast travel informations. This article, written by  Andre' Hagestedt,  is a very informative article about his effort at photographing the coastal waves completes with pictures and a video.  The title of this article is "Anatomy of a Sneaker Wave on Oregon Coast: Time Lapse Video." The writing style is quite informal. Presumably aiming at young readers because it started with "Kids don't try this at home." I double kids will ever try them even without his warning.  What I really think is that what he did is what nearshore beach scientists and engineers should be interested in pursuing! I copied here his whole article including pictures and the video.  I did not find any copyright notice but please check for other beach travel infos.
Anatomy of a Sneaker Wave on Oregon Coast: Time Lapse Video
Published 11/16/2012
By Andre' Hagestedt
(Newport, Oregon) – Kids, don't try this at home. It's further proof just how dangerous Oregon coast sneaker waves can be – and how they can truly live up to their name.
You think you're safe on a certain beach, even during storm season. But you can be very wrong. Deadly wrong. My own experience at Moolock Beach, near Newport, is a perfect example.
Granted, I do know better. I know that a beach that is as chaotic as this one was in early November can spell trouble – even if it's a light kind of chaos. The keys here are two things. One: a beach that's rather small like Moolack, and not a big, broad sandy one, like most around Lincoln City, Cannon Beach or Seaside. And Two: you need only watch the waves a little while to see they sometimes come up way farther than the where the tide line normally is. Perhaps it's every minute or two, perhaps a bit longer. But if you see a big wave dart up the much farther than usual, to a place not considered, safe – even if it's once every five minutes – you're likely in trouble there.
But granted, on this day, Moolack Beach's nasty, scary sneaker waves took their time to appear. The tideline was way down the beach, normally about 100 feet or more from the cliffs. But every once in a while I'd see a wave get closer to the cliffs, perhaps within 20 feet. Not good, but it wasn't particularly terrifying, either.
Still, it stuck in my mind this may not be a good idea.
Then, after about about ten minutes, I'm wandering close to the cliff and a bit south of the cove-like entrance to Moolack, which offers another 60 feet or so of hiding space if you needed it. But I was hugging those cliffs, hell bent on my photo expedition. Sure enough, a massive sneaker wave comes barreling up from far down by that tideline, and I'm knee-deep in a wild wave that did threaten to knock me against those cliffs. There was nowhere to run.
You can see the difference in the top photo, from where the breakers usually were, and then see where they had just been, up by the cliffs.
Luckily, I only got my legs wet. But it was frightening. So I decided to stick to the cove after that, or at least near it. From there, I set up my camera on a tripod to automatically take time lapse shots of the beach action. I settle my equipment close to a small gravelly path – about 60 feet in from the cliffs, but still on the sand.
I go walking on the beach a bit as the camera does its thing, and a couple sneaker waves come up to the edges of the cliffs and even into the cove another 20 feet. There's still at least 30 feet between the crazed waves and my camera gear, though I have to walk a bit briskly away from those incoming watery intruders. This happens three or four times, when all of a sudden one really big one appears and is clearly going to reach my gear.
I run up the beach as fast as I can and manage to outrun all but a few inches of water, but it would've been enough to knock my camera and tripod into the big wave had I not grabbed it all just in time. Seriously, it was like an episode of “Mission: Impossible” or something, where doom was just a split second away.
I managed to hop onto a spot a couple inches higher, and the waves still splash my feet a tad.
Scary. Very scary. I did not expect that one, and I'm a seasoned beach bum. I figure that was just a freak one, but set my gear up just a little higher, just in case, about a foot back, and about two inches above where it was before. I'm thinking the gear has to be safe now.
Within minutes, another even bigger monster wave arrives – wow. Big surprise, nasty sneaker wave. This one trumps even the last one. It splashes up the path a bit and I still have to grab my equipment and run – again.
All this was caught in the time lapse photos; about 100 shots are in this video. So you can see what I encountered. This video should serve as further warning about crazed storm conditions and beach safety.
See the video below.

 As the author indicated, he picked up the spot and set up the camera with tripod to do the kind of video recording.  I am not entirely clear as to what was his purpose for doing this "photo expedition".  I do think there should be scientific interests in his work.  Because no one really know what might happen.  Obviously what he had encountered was not what he expected either:
" . . . a massive sneaker wave comes barreling up from far down by that tideline, and I'm knee-deep in a wild wave that did threaten to knock me against those cliffs. There was nowhere to run." 
Well what happened i's clearly what he should be prepared, because that's really something to be expected. And if I may add another layer of caution: I am not sure that he should be out there all alone, especially there doesn't seem to have anyone around.  Anyway I do appreciate that he did it and provided us with the video and an interesting article. I hope all future safe ventures for him!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fear of death by freaque waves

I just came across this article in the newspaper site called, a newspaper of Chattanooga, TN of course.  I was somewhat amused by this article's title "Five ways I hope I don't die" by Sean Phipps and one of his five ways happens to be Rogue wave!  Here's what he has to say:
Rogue wave
I think about this every time I step onto a boat. Even if we’re just in a lake, I’ll inquire as to the possibility of a rogue wave capsizing the boat. Waves are terrifying to me. This fear has everything to do with childhood accidents involving bathtubs full of water and swimming pools I thought I could touch the bottom of. I’ve always imagined being on a small fishing boat in the middle of the ocean. The winds start to pick up—nothing too crazy, yet—and clouds start building in the distance. Suddenly, everything is silent. And then a low rumbling begins as the boat begins to succumb to a massive undertow. We all look up, and our worst fears are realized: An enormous wave—20 stories high, at least—is rising above the boat. We have only 10 seconds to prepare for the impact. The wave crushes the boat and everyone inside. This scenario always bums me out.
I have no idea where he got his idea about freaque waves.  I am also interesting to here what kind of answer he gets when he inquired about the "possibly of a rogue wave capsizing the boat" before he stepped onto a boat.  But his imagination of "being on a small fishing boat in the middle of the ocean" and encountered a sudden enormous wave is not too far fetched.  Though the wave may not be "20 stories high, at least" still sufficient to " crush the boat and everyone inside".  He may be happy to learn that even what he had imagined happens, with Coast Guard and all the available rescue services all around the world, he just might survive and not die.  Now here's the catch, there are obviously plenty of fear of freaque waves, worrying, and half-cooked informations out there, they can all be half-valid since scientifically or otherwise, no one really know what is really going on anyway.  Mr. Phipps' fear seems to be not very well founded!

2012 Total Solar Eclipse in Northern Australia

Here are two pictures of total solar eclipse that happened in Northern Australia yesterday. The first one from this FOX News article:

And the next one from the Credit NASA/SDO:

Some relevant info. from the FOX News article:
The moon blocked out the sun in a total solar eclipse Tues, briefly turning dawn back into night over parts of northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean.
The total solar eclipse began just after sunrise local time Wednesday (Nov. 14) in northern Australia, thrilling nearly 50,000 spectators who had flocked to the tropical city of Cairns to witness the event. It was the first total solar eclipse in Australia in a decade and the last eclipse of its kind that humans will see until 2015.
Because of time zone differences, it was still Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 13) in the United States during the celestial event. The totality phase of the eclipse — the point at which the moon completely blocks the sun — began at 3:35 p.m. EST over the Arnhem Land region in Australia's Northern Territory.
The moon's shadow swept southeast from there, crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria into the state of Queensland before heading out into the vast Pacific Ocean, where few could witness it.
Solar eclipses occur when the moon lines up with the sun in the sky, blotting out the solar disk from a viewer's perspective on Earth. There are three main categories: total, partial and annular (in which the outer edge of the sun shines like a ring around the moon in the sky). 
The last total solar eclipse as viewed from Earth took place in July 2010, and the next one won't occur until March 2015.
From start to finish, the "total" phase of the solar eclipse lasted about three hours. At Cairns on the northeast Queensland coast, enthusiastic observers saw the moon cover the sun's disk completely for two minutes, beginning at 3:39 p.m. EST.

 Without actually to go there, it is still an exciting moment to be able to see it online at home!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembering the Fitz again!

This blog post I just came across reminded me what today is -- which I almost forgotten.  Yes, indeed. Miss Kathy Schiffer's timely blog " Where the Love of God Goes: The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" in Patheos told a nice story of seeing and photographing the big boat passing through the Soo  Lock in 1973 -- only years later did she realized that was the Fitz she and her husband saw.  The article naturally also included a video of the legendary song of Gordon Lightfoot. Which she hightlighted in particular these two lines
Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours…
So read the article and hearing the song we relived that fateful event once again. And I would like to also share her thoughts and prayer here:

. . . I remember that these men—most in their 40s or 50s, and some as young as 21—were not planning to die that day.  They left loving wives, children, parents, and friends, drawn to the depths of the sea and the arms of their Creator.  Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wave moments naked eye can't see

Live Science just published online this article by their Senior Writer Stephanie Pappas entitled "Surf's up:Photos stop tiny waves in their tracks." It was an interview of Australian Photographer Deb Morris about her photographs of "ocean wavelets capture gorgeous texture and color".  I was fascinated by the first part of the first sentence of the article:  "A wave doesn't have to be a monster to be breathtaking, . . .".  Indeed take a look at the following fantastic pictures I am allowed to copy:


Clear Wave

Molten Blue

Here's Miss Morris' own words in explaining her work: "It's capturing those moments you just don't see with the naked eye that inspires me. There are so many aspects, shapes, colors, movement, etcetera, in the water."  Ah these waves are natural ocean phenomena that's been in existence for thousand of years, perhaps since the beginning when ocean become part of this planet, but she just captured those moments in the vast dynamical ocean wave processes into pure art -- where science has yet to be able to touched them!  Her amazing artistic accomplishment in capturing the 3D wave moments into a fantastic art form on a 2D picture, while science, alas, can only conceptualized it over a 2D section.  Not able to measure what's going on in the spatial real world, so science basically created a science world -- so far removed from the real world out there!

Friday, November 09, 2012

A survival of freaque waves horror on paradise isle of Cape Verde

Pete Bainbridge of the Manchester Evening News just published this article online with a very long title "Star of lawyer documentary The Briefs Franklin Sinclair cheats death in ‘freak waves’ horror on paradise isle of Cape Verde" and here's the detailed story:

A TV star lawyer has told how he almost died when he was hit by two ‘freak waves’ while swimming on holiday on a paradise island. 
Franklin Sinclair, who starred in ITV documentary The Briefs about criminal law in Manchester, said the terrifying accident on Cape Verde, off Western Africa, left him temporarily paralysed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The impact of the water forced the 54-year-old to the sea floor and he injured his spine – leaving him unable to move.
Two locals pulled him out of the water and he was rushed to a local hospital before being flown home for treatment. 
Mr Sinclair, boss at Manchester law firm Tuckers, was swimming off the island of Boa Vista on the last day of his trip when the ordeal happened. 
Speaking from his bed in Salford Royal Hospital, Mr Sinclair said: "The seas in there are very rough and there had been red flags out stopping us from going in the water. On the last day it was a yellow flag, so I was able to go for a swim. 
"I was only up to my waist when two freak waves combined together. I hardly saw them before they hit me and sent me straight down underwater with incredible force. 
"I smashed my head and torso onto the sand, face down. 
"How I didn’t lose consciousness I don’t know. I couldn’t move a muscle, I just lay there in the water. I tried to shout but couldn’t speak, and shock gripped me. The next wave would have taken me back underwater and I would have died." 
Following the accident, Mr Sinclair was placed on a stretcher, where he lay in a hotel hospital for 26 hours, before being flown to Santa Cruz hospital in Tenerife for scans and x-rays. 
The tests revealed a bruised spinal cord and he was taken back to Manchester by air ambulance, paid for by his insurance. 
He added: "I haven’t got much feeling anywhere but I can move my legs and feet now. 
"The lumbar scan hasn’t come back yet, but the pain’s stopped and I should make a full recovery. At the time I thought I might not walk again – or get back on the golf course." 
ITV1’s The Briefs followed lawyers from the Manchester firm – one of the region’s largest criminal legal aid practices – as they represented clients on cases ranging from drug dealing to blackmail and murder.
This is indeed a story of freaque waves! It clearly connotes a freaque wave incident that's a life and death issue, it is gratifying to read that Mr. Sinclair "cheats" death to be able to tell his frightening story in person as:  "I was only up to my waist when two freak waves combined together. I hardly saw them before they hit me and sent me straight down underwater with incredible force."

Some observations here: It was in shallow water only up to his waist, he recognized there were two freaque waves "combined together, and he hardly saw them before the "incredible force" hit him.  These are all true happenings before he was rescued.  So there were two freaque waves came out of nowhere smashed him  onto the sand face down before he realized what was happening.  That were freaque waves without doubt! But we don't know anything about the possible hit beforehand, and we still don't know anything about it after the hit with the detailed eye-witness report! It just happened when it happened! The local authority can try to prevent more dange encounters by red flags, yellow flags.  At this time there is not much science have to offer that can help in anyway!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Hurricane Sandy's 'rogue wave' attacks CBS reporter

This item appeared in last Monday (10/29/2012)'s Washington Post online in the Opinions section. The full title "Hurricane Sandy's 'rogue wave' attacks CBS reporter" somehow did not catch my attention immediately.  But the included video with the article by Erik Wemple shows some of the spectacular storm and wave sceneries one can ever expect. And that was just about the only time during the whole episode of ragging of the Sandy storm this term "rogue wave" has ever been used.

Here's the short write-up of Wemple's blog:
CBS News reporter Chip Reid called it a “rogue wave.” Whatever you call it, it caused some difficulties for Reid and his setup in Ocean City, Md. “The camera is the only thing that didn’t go down into the two feet of water in which we had been standing.” There’s really no such thing, of course, as a “rogue wave” in a once-in-a-lifetime storm, something that Reid appeared to have acknowledged in his chat with “CBS This Morning.”

“Whatever respect you think you need to give a hurricane, give a little bit more,” said Reid. Question for broadcasters: Time to rethink the live shot with the raingear-clad reporter fighting the wind and rain?

So it was really reporter Chip Reid that used the term "rogue wave". Funny the writer of the article, Wemple, added his own opinion, since this is an opinion piece of a blog, in which he pointed out "There's really no such thing, of course, as a 'rogue wave' . . ."  Hmm, he is such a strong skeptic of freaque waves that makes me wonder what was the reason that prompts him to say that?  (I guess I must also wonder if he's ever skeptical on Algore global warming alarmism?)

Yes, during a storm, especially a storm that was once a Catogory 1 hurricane, all waves generated are fair size large waves.  But that's still not a reason to exclude freaque waves from happening.  Publications are available to show that.  As much as it can be annoying to think amids damaging large storm waves there still might be freaque waves happening.  I am not saying  the one Mr. Reid encounterd was really a freaque wave.  What I am saying is that we can not exclude that possibility!  Wish we can have more similar videos on the similar happenings to look at in order to make a better assessment.  Unfortunately in a national catastrophe like Sandy, there will be plenty of opinions all around but very little realy solutions and even less real data!

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Lake Geneva tsunami in the year 563AD.

The Economist Magazine just published an article online entitled "Lake monsters" talks about the Tsunami that was devastated Lake Geneva in the year 563AD, nearly 1500 years ago.
The tsunami of 563 started at the opposite end of the lake from Geneva, at the point where it is fed by glacial meltwater carried into it by the Rhône.
As the article reported "What caused the wave, and the extent of the damage that resulted, have been matters of conjecture for centuries."  Also "Two accounts of the disaster, one by Gregory of Tours and the other by Marius of Avenches, have survived." So
Both accounts say the wave began with a massive rockfall on what was then called Mount Tauredunum (this has led to the tsunami becoming known as the Tauredunum event). Tauredunum is thought to be a mountain now called the Grammont, which is located near the river mouth.

One popular theory was that
this rockfall created a created a natural dam across the Rhône, which held the waters back until it could no longer sustain the pressure. When the dam burst, the resulting wave swept the length of the lake.

Now local researcher at the University of Geneva, Dr.Katrina Kremer,
thinks that the rocks crashed down onto soft sediments which had accumulated at the river mouth because of the slowing of the river’s flow when it enters the lake. These sediments form an underwater delta that has several canyon-like channels. When the falling rocks hit the delta they destabilised the sediments and caused the canyons to collapse. It was this collapse that created the Tsunami.
which is a plausible theory.  I guess developing explanations for ancient happenings is always an academic exerecise of interest. Kremer and colleagues, with the help of information revealed by archaeology are able to formulating a computer model for what might have happened. It's a long article well worth the time to read the details.  The only drawback of models for the times 15 centuries before, similar to some of the climate models for decades in the future, how much can we really take it seriously -- especially when they indicate that might be happening again.  Should anyone would wish to suggest that people reside around the Lake for generations to be evacuated based on the academic exercises?  Well, anyway we have plenty of professional alarmist already!