Sunday, November 10, 2013

A reflection on Edmund Ftizgerald day!

Such a beautiful ship, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, that lost 38 years ago today. We remember her every year without exception. 29 souls along with her wreckage rest in peace at the bottom of Lake Superior. May God bless them and their families!

A personal memory: I did a preliminary hindcasting of the waves during the disaster presented at the Great Lakes Research Conference in the spring of 1976. I don't remember what was the title I used, but I do remember my old colleague, Bob Pickett, suggested it should be called "How big was the wave that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald"! That turns out to be an unanswerable question. In-spite of all the later further efforts at hindcasting with more sophisticated approaches, we just don't know what had really happened. In 1975, that was 20 years before the Draupner wave being recorded in the North Sea, no one had ever alluded to freaque waves at the time. Now it seems universally accepted that the lost of the Fitz was caused by a freaque wave. It doesn't matter, we'll never know the real facts beyond speculations, scientific or otherwise!

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