Thursday, December 04, 2014

Wishing for tranquility!

This is a picture I saw many times on the sky while I was in my backyard. But I have not been able to successfully capture it with my aim and shoot camera.  I happen to noticed this picture on the internet, I would like to preserve it here. My admiration and salute to the photographer who took this picture!

November2014 has been a quiet period in the ocean freaque wave front. Let hope and pray that freaque waves in the ocean and lakes can remain dormant always or occurs only when there is no people around to encounter them.  May your/our life be always be ia a state of tranquility, never be bothered by unexpectedness or freaque waves!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Lake Michigan waves near Milwaukee on Halloween evening

It is not very often to find news about waves on the Great Lakes, this one here about wave at Lake Michigan near Milwaukee is of interest. It's not about freaque waves but freaque waves were mentioned:
Waves crash, leaves swirl on windy Wisconsin HalloweenBy Julia Fello and Shannon Sims. CREATED Oct 31, 2014 - UPDATED: Oct 31, 2014MILWAUKEE - It looked more like the Atlantic Ocean than Lake Michigan.Tall waves crashed into the fishing pier at McKinley Marina Friday."We know when the wind is high the waves are coming, we try to get down here take pictures...enjoy it," says Pamela Griffin.Dozens flocked to the lakefront to see the spectacular display. A sight that took all by surprise on Halloween night.The waves so high - they washed out a section of the parking lot."We both sail and we have never seen waves like this." says Ian Weismann.Northerly winds at up to 50 miles an hour churned the waters of Lake Michigan from Port Washington to Milwaukee.Mia Ortlieb warns onlookers - "You can't get too close because a rogue wave is going to come up."
Well it is more about weather, storm, waves things more than freaque waves happening. I guess during storming condition there's no surprises, big waves are expected hence freaque wave in the usual sense is not present. Check out the article's accompanied video, I don't know how long they'll keep it up. While it lasts, there are some good wave scenes in western Lake Michigan near Milwaukee!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Massive waves at Pulpit Rock, Isle of Portland

UK DailyMail yesterday published the article online with the following introductions:

Water idiot! Photographer captures moment man diced with death by climbing onto rocky outpost cut off by huge waves

  • The man scaled the 50ft ancient rock stack - Pulpit Rock - on the Isle of Portland in Weymouth, Dorset, yesterday
  • He stood there for 10 minutes while massive storms battered the coastline, causing violent waves to lash the rocks
  • Local photographer Sean Hepburn captured the moment while he was documenting pictures of the severe storm
  • He branded the man a 'lunatic' for the stunt and says he was 'incredibly lucky' and could have been 'a goner'
  • Prompted coastguards to issue a warning advising people to stay away from cliff edges especially when wet
The article included some breath taking photos along with a super video well worth a visit. on:

I guess it's not easy to define those waves as "freaque" since they are expected rather than unexpected. Anyway for mortals like me I am very happy to watch it in my comfortable home on my computer screen and admiring that brave soul challenge those waves and nature. My hat's off for the photographer that recorded the whole thing.  Let's just be happy and thank God for that lucky "lunatic" for not made him a "goner"!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A freaque wave encounter off Kauai, Hawaii

Now a real life freaque wave encounter case on a leisurely fishing trip off Niihau, Kauai, Hawaii. The news and video can be found here:
and here's part of the transcript:
One man is sharing his painful fishing tale ... KITV4's Lara Yamada has the story ... of one, lucky, fisherman.  
"I tilted my head back to get another last gulp of air and a swell pushed the vote I took a big gulp of water and started going down it was scary." 
"My first thought was to grab Noah, you know make sure I had a hold of him." 
"I saw that shooting star and I heard the Journey song "don't stop believing" that was the lord saying you will be fine." 
"He was convinced the pain was so bad, he just wanted to swim in."  
"We just felt so relieved. " 
"I wanted to make sure I made it for my wife and my daughters."  Reported  Lara Yamada KITV4 News. 
The Garden Island Newspaper reports - Romanak went back to "Kikiaoloa Small Boar Harbor" in Kekaha last night... and found his boat had WASHED ASHORE! He says he's glad everyone's OK -- and is considering getting a BIGGER, SAFER boat. 
An incredible story, but it is really a happy ending story good for all to hear that everyone is fine after their terrible ordeal.  Thanks be to God!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

'Near Miss' on Hibernia as Rogue Wave Strikes Workers

Here's a news item on with the title "'Near Miss' on Hibernia as Rogue Wave Strikes Workers" published on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014:
It was a close call for some Hibernia workers last weekend in what the company calls 'a high potential near miss'.

Four people were working on the gravity-based structure roof slab Sunday when two waves came over the top and struck them.
 Two of the employees lost their footing and fell with one sustaining minor cuts to a hand. The  Hibernia Management and Development Company says workers were wearing immersion suits at  the time of the incident.

So "Two waves came over the top and struck them." clearly indicates this is indeed an encounter of freaque waves  in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Hey I don't believe the definition!

Hey I have a problem! 

I am becoming a heretic in the freaque wave studies because I don’t believe the famous, overwhelmingly accepted definition on freaque waves -- I don’t believe a wave height barely greater than twice the significant wave height is necessarily a freaque wave! Everyone uses this criteria simply because of it's simplicity, easily accessible, everyone can understand -- but it is not very meaningful.

But what is it?

We don’t really know what a freaque wave is! How can we effectively define something we don’t even know?

According to Longuet-hioggins’s 1952 analysis, based on the surface fluctuation being assumed to follow Gaussian mdistribution, wave heights are expected to follow Rayleigh distribution, then a maximumwave height in the record is about twice the significant wave height. So anything greater than the maximum wave height must be considered a freaque. Make sense?

But, but, what is a freaque wave?

First and foremost, a freaque wave does not jump out of Rayleigh distribution. No apology to Lord Rayleigh. Lord Rayleigh has never heard of freaque wave.  Neither has Carl Friedrich Gauss, for that matter. Now we are expected to frame our mind on ocean waves be put under the confine of Rayleigh and Gauss had formulated – so that we can conveniently manipulate the numbers we measured.

When we can not handle the unruly numbers we called them random. And when the number does not follow the rim the smart ones prescribed we call it freaque!

A freaque wave is most certainly greater than twice the significant wave height, but a wave height greater than twice the significant wave height is not necessarily a freaque wave!

So we can not, at the present, successfully define a freaque wave, but people know it happens only when they unfortunately encounter one!

Now mind you, the essense of a freaque wave is not, NOT, its size.  The main characteristics of a freaque wave  that can cause damage and disasters is because it happened unexpectedly, unexpectedly!

Yes, a freaque wave that’s dangerous is not because of its size, it is more because of the fact of it’s unexpectedness! (Yes, not all of of them were out of the blue. Some may even roaring over but still give us no time to prepare, that's also part of the unexpectedness!)

Now how do we define, or quantify, the unexpectedness of the occurrence?  

Well, if you can answer this question you'll have the whole basis of studying ocean freaque waves solved!  Nonlinear dynamic physicists, eat your heart out!.HGH

So far, we don't have an answer, no one ever even try! As a matter of fact, no one ever even ask!

So it happens, freaque wave is unexpected, so what?

Everyone knows significant wave height is the average of the highest one-third waves, that's easy to calculate for a single point gage measured time series data. But what does it have anything to do with the real open ocean out there?

I ask experts what is the significant wave height in the real ocean, not a single point, no one has the answer!

The academic oceanographic world is basically regimented by the single point wave measurements, the whole ocean waves field of study is distilled into a single point that's where all of our knowledge stemmed from! We defined a freaque wave at a single point and the whole ocean is supposed to follow from there!

Make sense or not that's the base of our knowledge basis on ocean waves.

That's my difficulty lies, I can not believe or accept what that implies.

The freaque waves are out there in the real ocean world, happening, but we don't know where, when, how, and why. We are still stuck at looking for 2 time significant wave height. If something higher, wow, that's freaque wave!

In my humble opinion, we know nothing about freaque waves, we can not define waht a freaque wave is. Greater than twice the significant wave height doesn't cut it. We don't even know what is a significant beyond a single point.  Ocean is certainly by no means a single point!

We need improved understanding on freaque waves we need new definition!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Freaque wave hits Boston ferry

Hmmm, this freaque wave news case happened a week ago just now come to my attention:
Five miles off the coast of Massachusetts, a passenger ferry was hit by a rouge 20-foot wave, breaking windows and disabling the vessel. The wave damaged the ferry’s generator and one of the ferry’s crew members was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with minor injuries, according to Boston Herald on Aug. 14. 
The commuter ferry travels from Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, to Boston. The boat was stuck about five miles off the coast of Scituate, reports WHDH Boston today. The wave seemingly came out of nowhere and just left the boat sitting dead in the water with 42 passengers on board on Wednesday afternoon, reports the Boston Globe.Passengers described the ordeal as “the boat sort of tips down in the water, almost as if it was going to flip over,” said Ariel Shurm, 22, of Boston. He was returning back to Boston after a family vacation on the Cape. The seas weren't unusually rough, but all of a sudden a "green sheet of water" came barreling toward the ship. It hit the ship, doing most of the damage to the captain's level, which sits 20-feet above the water line. 
The crew passed out life-jackets and panic set in with one woman screaming "the boat is sinking," according to Mail Online today. Water was rolling down the walls in the cabin area of the vessel and people were scared. This is not an area accustomed to waves big enough to tip over a boat of this size and people who frequent the ferry know this, making this wave event a bit out of the norm and frightening for them. 
There was initial panic on board when the wave hit, but because they were stuck out in the water with little to do, Shurm, who is a Berklee College of Music student, whipped out his trumpet and gave an impromptu concert for the stranded passengers. Shurm plays the trumpet for the popular local Boston rock band The Interlopers, tried to calm the passengers with his music and it seemed to do the trick!
At one point he played the theme to “Jaws” just as a joke. He also said he played a lot of “ocean-themed stuff.” 
Coast Guard officials confirmed that the passenger ferry was hit by a large wave rendering the vessel “briefly disabled.” The incident happened a little after 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. The ferry is owned and operated by the Bay State Cruise Company. 
The Coast Guard dispatched a 47-foot motor life boat along with an 87-foot cutter out to the stranded ferry to assist in restoring the generator, which was knocked out when the wave hit, according to the Boston Globe. Once fixed, the boat continued on to its original destination to its dock in the Seaport District in Boston. It arrived around 7 p.m., a few hours later than usual. 
One person was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital with injuries, but no further information on what those injuries were was made available.
It appears that it was the reporting media that's calling it as an encounter with freaque wave, Coast Guard officials only confirmed that it was "hit by a large wave". Anyway there were minor damage and injury, some panic, just a minor mishap that caused some inconvenience.  May be that's why the news did not spread.


This Thursday Boston Globe news article gave more details on the waves;
A series of large waves shattered windows and disabled power on the Provincetown IV ferry on Wednesday afternoon, leaving more than 40 people stranded five miles off the coast of Scituate. 
CBS Boston reported that the ferry, operated by the Bay State Cruise Company, was traveling from Provincetown to Boston with 42 people on board when it was hit by what the company described as “an anomalously large set of waves.” Two windows were shattered and the ship’s captain suffered a minor injury to his hand, according to the report. 
While most waves were reported to be roughly five feet tall, some passengers on board the ferry told WHDH that the waves that disabled the ship were nearly 20 feet tall.

A report from The Boston Globe added that the crew contacted the Coast Guard shortly after 4 p.m. and two ships, a 47-foot life boat and an 87-foot cutter, responded to the scene nearly five miles off the coast of Scituate. According to the report, the ferry’s generator was eventually restored and it was able to slowly return to port without being towed. It finally returned to dock at approximately 7 p.m., according to The Globe.
We should all be thankful that this freaque wave encounter case had only minor damage and injury. At any rate, however, it was a real encounter case with an unexpected large wave or waves -- which the ferry company described them as "anomalously large set of waves".  As the size estimates of the waves varied between 5 and 20 feet indicates the difficulty of getting a realistic estimate from eye witnesses.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tragedy caused by a huge wave at Maui beach

This tragic sad case happened over two weeks ago in Maui, Hawaii according to this USA Today article entitled "Rogue wave kills mom in Maui" by Newser Staff Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, July 22, 2014:
(NEWSER) – Flight attendant Wendi Van Briesen was bodysurfing with her 13-year-old son, Tanner, in Maui when a huge wave turned the family's first vacation to Hawaii tragic, knocking her unconscious, shattering two of her vertebrae and putting her into a coma. 
Van Briesen's husband, Aaron, and 11-year-old daughter, McKenna, witnessed the accident from the beach, and Aaron, a schoolteacher, pulled her out of the water and performed CPR. A week later, the Arizona native died while on life support, reports Arizona's 3TV
"There are no words to describe it when you walk in and see her on a ventilator," her sister-in-law told Hawaii News Now. "It's been absolutely awful for our family—to go on vacation in Hawaii for the first time and go straight from an airplane to a hospital." 
The family had planned to fly to Kauai for the remainder of their vacation, but are instead flying home to Gilbert, Ariz., to plan the funeral. 
What a sad tragic case. Any thing can happen near the beach, but this one happened at the Maui beach caused by this freaque huge wave is very, very sad indeed. With shattered vertebrae tat put her in coma, she just did not have a chance to escape before its happening all of a sudden. "No words to describe it" is the only description that one can come up with. It's just too sad! We can only pray to God to help this family to cope this tragic happening.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

April tragidy at Tenerife

I just came across this UK DailyMail article earlier this year which I missed to notice when it happened in April of this year. As customery of  DailyMail articles, a long headline just about tells the whole story:
Two British doctors swept to their death by waves as they try to rescue their children from the water at holiday beach off Tenerife (Read more:
It is the human tragidy we wish it'll never happen. One of the most relevant key description in the words of one of the rescurers in the article is this:
"What they had been doing was standing on the rocks looking at the waves crashing in. Unfortunately one of those waves was so big it crashed in and swept them out to sea. The girl I rescued wasn’t even in swimwear, she was in shorts and a T-shirt."
Just everyday ordinary happenings, but this time it led to tragidy! How can one prevant it even if we know it will happen?!? But we do know it will happen, just that we don't know where, when, how, and why they will happen!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Swept out to sea

Here are a short list of recent news reports from around the world:
Australia SkyNews July 10, 2014: "The boy was swept into the surf about 1350 AEST on Thursday".

UK Mirror July 10, 2014: "Frantic search for five-yuear-old boy swept out to sea by huge wave during family holiday".

NewsonJapan June 20, 2014: "5 children swept out to sea in Miyazaki; one drowns".

Peninsula Daily News July 5, 2014: "Body of Chimacum girl, 11, swept out to sea by riptide found this morning".

UK News Letter August 1, 2014: "Five children saved as they were being swept out to sea".

It is just a sample showing wha thas been happening. The list is by no means complete. What I am trying to show here is that all these items have one thing in common -- they all carried the words "swept out to sea"! Yes, 4 simple words put together form an unpleasant, sometimes tragic, aspect of life that can happen near the ocean beach and nearshore area, even onboard seagoing ships in the open ocean. These cases were happened recently. Of course there must be cases that happened locally not being reported and available on the internet news system. So when go out enjoy the beaches, be careful, beware, and be alert. Have a safe and enjoyable beach outing!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The new freaque waves article in NewScientist magazine

The latest NewScientist (Issue 2979) carried this online article by Stephen Ornes entitled "Rogue waves: The real monsters of the deep" just caught my eye. What I was surprised to see was this:

Seven giants
In 2007, Paul Liu at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration compiled a catalogue of more than 50 historical incidents probably associated with rogue waves. Here are some of the most significant . . .

Hmm . . .  I know that my Geofizika article has been reasonably well referenced, but this NewScientist citing is still a surprise to me.  Here's a discussion in a paragraph in the early part of the article:
Science has been slow to catch up with rogue waves. There is not even any universally accepted definition. One with wide currency is that a rogue is at least double the significant wave height, itself defined as the average height of the tallest third of waves in any given region. What this amounts to is a little dependent on context: on a calm sea with significant waves 10 centimetres tall, a wave of 20 centimetres might be deemed a rogue.
The lament about the lack of "universally accepted" definition is fine. But the dismissing of possible of a 20 cm high freaque waves is unnecessary.  Freaque waves may be able to reach tens of meters high, but its existence is not necessarily measured by its sice alone. An important characteristics of freaque waves  the definition can not be delineated is the unexpectedness of the occurrence of the wave. Even a wave of 20 cm tall, if it occurs unexpectedly, it will be a freaque wave nevertheless!

Over all this is the best general article on freaque waves written by a science writer I have ever read.  He must have done extensive researches on the topic of freaque waves.  I don't know if he had actually talked to the key players he cited in his article, but his choice of players and representing their works all admirably.

For this article I signed up for a short term subscription to NewScientist -- the only way to allow me the access the article in whole right now, it's worth it!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rescue below the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Independent, Irish has this story happened on July 6 written by Michelle Smyth published on July 7:

Kayakers had to be rescued from below the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge on the Co Antrim coast after a freak wave struck their vessels at the weekend. 
One of the rescued men, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was out kayaking with three of his friends near the bridge on Saturday when two of the men were knocked into the water and pushed towards rocks by a huge wave. "We are all fairly experienced kayakers and we would be out in the water a lot," said the kayaker, from Ballymena. 
"It was a shock this happened. I would like to thank the Coastguard and RNLI for their speedy response. They carried out a challenging rescue with the utmost professionalism." 
A vigilant National Trust employee raised the alarm and the Ballycastle and Coleraine Coastguard rushed to the scene, as well as Portrush Lifeboat. The two men, who had sought safety on rocks, were winched to safety by two rescue technicians and treated for minor injuries. 
- See more at:

Here is one of the published pictures showing the Coast Guard rescue in action underneath the famous land mark rope bridge.  

Happened at St John’s Point, Co Donegal, Ireland

Independent.Ie carried this news headline today: "Presbyterian minister drowns after being struck by freak wave" :

Rev Dr Stewart Jones, who was minister of Donemana Presbyterian Church in Strabane Co Tyrone,  got into difficulty shortly after he was struck by a freak wave during a dive at St John’s Point in Co Donegal on Saturday evening at 4.30pm.The two divers got into difficulties not far from the shore at St John’s Point, Co DonegalThe Coastguard helicopter was dspatched to scene after the alarm was raised yesterday evening around 4.30pmCPR was performed on the man on the beach.The victim, aged in his 50s and believed to be from Strabane in Co Tyrone, was airlifted to Sligo Hospital during a rescue operation on Saturday.Ian Scott, from Malin Head Coastguard, said cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was carried out.
"Sadly, despite administering CPR, from when the diver was recovered until his arrival at hospital, the man died."

So freaque caused a tragedy in Ireland today. The victim was A Presbyterian Minister and a experience diver. We don't know how and why. It just happened! The article can found in:  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just ferret out: Two cases of freaque wave encounters in 1942 and 1977.

On Google search, with the help of using key words of  "Google news freaque waves" I came across this two pieces of old news paper gem news on freaque waves:

Freak Wave Drowns Seven in Lake Erie, from May 31, 1942's Pittsburgh Press;
Five Die After Trawler is Hit By Freak Wave, from The Glasgow Herald, Dec. 6, 1977.

I was particularly interested in an eyewitness account in the 1942 Lake Erie case:
     One fisherman described the waveas an enormous black wall that blotted out everything and rushed in with a deep, rolling rumble. 
     The only warning he said, was a shrieking noise like a siren which proceded the wave.
which was copied from the hardly legible original newspaper:

Whether or not freaque waves make noise is still unsettled. Obviously there are freaque waves that don't make noises, but some did. This case in Lake Erie in 1942 was one of them -- a shrieking siren like sound described by an eyewitness would dispel any possible room for doubt!

Some other rather contrasting notes about these two cases: both reports used the term "freak wave" in the headline, both cases were tragic that involved unfortunate multiple life loses, while the Lake Erie case may have influenced by weather condition, i.e. sudden shift in wind, the Glasgow Herald report indicated the weather was "quite reasonable".

These two cases, 35 years apart, happened long before freaque waves ever become sensationally infatuated by the modern media types. One might even gather useful informations on freaque wave happenings from these old news reports that still valued and retains journalistic integrity. 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

A case in Fleurieu on 06/27/2014

I am not sure how many people are familiar with Fleurieu Peninsula, I am certainly not one of them, I have to Google through Wikipedia to learn that they are located in South Australia. In the Sunday, July 6, 2014, Victor Harbor Times, there's this article: "Fleurieu lifesaver warns people off rocks" with the following pictures:

REGION - A local surf lifesaver has warned that coastal rocks are "no place for bravado", after two men narrowly avoided being swept off rocks in Port Elliot last week.
Safety along local beaches has been swept back into the spotlight after the pair were photographed scrambling for secure footing after being knocked over by a rogue wave on the rocks at Knights Beach on Friday, June 27.
Goolwa's Mick Windibank witnessed the incident, and took photos of what he said were two young men on the rocks.
"This is why people are getting in trouble at our beaches; ignoring signage and not respecting the ocean in general," he said.
"Lucky boys I reckon."
Port Elliot Surf Lifesaving Club (PESLC) secretary Marty Smee said the rocks from Port Elliot to Knights Beach are dangerous places to be.
According to Mr Smee, millions of years of weathering has worn them smooth and slippery when wet, while algae growing on them further reduces grip.
"The waves are also unpredictable and come in fast," he said.
"You find it hard to outrun waves; especially on rounded, smooth rocks."
Mr Smee said there have been deaths in the area, although decades ago, and recalled at least two incidents in the last few years when PESLC members were required to save people swept off rocks in Green Bay, between Horseshoe Bay and Knights Beach.
"One of those was life and death, and skilful work on behalf of an IRB (inflatable rescue boat)?crew saved a young man," he said.
"Other people have received severe abrasions."
These are local informations, thanks to the bystander who took the pictures that makes the case more than just a heresy and they certainly should be made known so other similar areas around the world can learn to prevent future happenings. This rocky shore freaque wave case on Friday, June 27, 2014 is duly recorded as a freaque wave happening thanks to this article.  How many similar happenings got lost in the information world because no one's doing the recording.  At any rate we are happy that this one got recorded and most happy of all is that everyone's safe and sound just ends up a good lesson. Deo Gratias!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Beware the warning signs and be sure to comply!

Here's a news item in Taipei Times I just read which a civil liberty minded people may find it's objectionable. but siding on the safety and saving lives, one can understand why the local officials in Taiwan would choose to do this:
In view of repeated incidents involving swimmers who ignored warning signs erected in the Kenting National Park of adverse sea conditions, park authorities said they have decided to slap fines of NT$3,000 on violators, effective yesterday.
Kenting’s South Bay (南灣) is a popular spot among swimmers, but three people drowned there last year because they ignored red warning flags, park officials said.
Kenting National Park Headquarters wrote “swimming prohibited” on its warning flags, but several students from Feng Chia University in Greater Taichung also ignored these warnings, resulting in the death of two.
“Now anyone who ignores the warning signs and goes swimming will be fined NT$3,000 for violation of the National Park Act (國家公園法),” the park headquarters said.
It said that if the waves are 1m high, it will set warning red flags to ban swimming, adding that if the waves are 1.5m high, it will ban diving.
Jetskis and other water activities will be prohibited if the waves are 2m high, the agency said.
In case of typhoons, the beach area will be cordoned off altogether, the park authorities added.
They said that in the past, they could only disperse violators and said that the fines might provide more of a deterrent.
On the first day of the new rule yesterday, it was a beautiful, sunny day in Kenting and there were many swimmers, but no warning signs on the beach.
So the moral of the matter is to beware the warning signs and be prepared to obey or risking on paying some large fines (NT3000 is equivalent US $100).  It will be difficult to fault the local officials' effort in trying to prevent damaging injuries and casualties.  We can certainly not excuse the college students who ignored the warning signs and ended up lost two companions. Is there better ways than large fines? There must be. But human nature as it is, we are still carrying our own life in our own hands.  Safety first, by all means, be mindful when there's warning signs!

Making Waves: the science of summer!

I just come across this interesting article entitled "The Science of Summer: Making Waves" that was published a week ago, June 25, 2014, in the University Press of FAU (Florida Atlantic U.) written by Luke Otfinowski.
The arrival of summer, for most, means a lot more time at the beach. Whatever your water activity, be it snorkeling, surfing, kiteboarding, paddle boarding or simply trying to enjoy a swim without getting your hair wet, waves are going to be there whether you want them to or not. It’s interesting thinking about where a wave starts, what determines its size, and if a butterfly beating its wings across the ocean means a tsunami is heading our way. The mechanisms for the formation and behavior of ocean waves are actually pretty simple and they might also help us figure out the meaning behind those “make waves” banners and signs we pass so often on campus. So, put on your floaties because here comes the break on waves!
When the sun heats the air on the uneven surface of the earth, certain portions heat up more quickly, causing that air to rise. This allows for cooler air to swoop in, fill the space, and create a lovely, cool breeze that is always welcome in South Florida. When this happens over the water, that cold air may brush against the surface of the water, creating a ripple. If the air continues blowing that ripple along, it will grow into a small wave and potentially keep getting bigger.
There are two main factors for a wave being formed and getting larger: the speed of the wind across the surface of the water and the distance of water over which the wind has blown, also called the fetch. The faster the wind is travelling and the further it travels pushing against the wave, the bigger it will be. Though most ocean waves are wind generated, there can be exceptions.
Dr. Brooks, a marine biologist at FAU, points to an event that occurred at Daytona Beach in 1992. Beachgoers were surprised by a rogue 18-foot wave that came out of nowhere and swept cars parked on shore, along with their drivers, into the water.
“It was most likely triggered by an underwater landslide or other seismic event. It was an otherwise calm day,” says Brooks.
 These and other major wave types can appear suddenly due to shifts of the ocean floor, such as earthquake movements or underwater volcanoes.
Waves are mostly just kinetic energy. The movement of wind transfers energy into the water and the waves move that energy. It is not the water that is being moved, but energy. The kinetic energy moves through the water in a circular motion, not a forward motion, like round cylinders moving a strap of a conveyor belt. This is why a buoy out on the ocean measures wave size by rising up and down in a bobbing motion as opposed to getting caught in a wave and moving across the water.
Another way to imagine this is to make a mark in the middle of a jump rope and swing the rope up and down, causing kinetic energy to move in a wave-like pattern away from you towards the other end. You would see that the marked portion of the rope did not actually move.
These waves of kinetic energy will travel thousands of miles until they begin to hit obstacles near the coast. Once the waves come in contact with obstacles, like offshore continental shelves, the friction will gradually slow the wave, making it lose part of its intensity. By the time the waves reach the coast, the swell has lost much of its previous energy and intensity. It would be much more powerful if it didn’t come into contact with so many obstacles on its journey.
Once the wave hits a sand bank, a reef or shallow waters, the wave slows down further, causing the wavelength to shorten, the crest of the wave to grow, and the height of the wave to rise. As the bottom slows, the top of the wave keeps moving and finally breaks, giving us the image of a classic white edged curve just asking to be conquered by a surfer.
So the next time you are walking around campus and pass under a banner telling you to “make waves,” you could think of it as a message encouraging you to be a kinetic force — a force that may start out as just ripples in a vast ocean, but with persistence can grow; a force that keeps moving forward, crossing new lands, passing obstacles and, though they may slow you down, not letting anything stop you until you make it to your goal.
When you think of it like that, it’s a pretty good message to live by.
 I thought it's a timely and useful article to read, even provided info on a freaque wave event unknown to us outsiders that was "occurred at Daytona Beach" in 1992. For which beachgoers "were surprised by a rogue 18-foot wave that came out of nowhere and swept cars parked on shore, along with their drivers, into the water."  And I thought the title of the article is a rather refreshing one to attractive attention. Really what else can be regarded as the science of summer?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Freaque wave an amazing ocean fact?

The ABC Science of Australia just published an fairly interesting article online entitled: "10 facts about our amazing oceans". Of particular interest to me, of course, is its fact #6: Rogue waves really do exist.  Here's what they have to say:
For centuries maritime folklore has had tales of gigantic waves that would appear without warning in mid-ocean and sink ships, even in good weather. These rogue waves are not necessarily the biggest waves ever found at sea, but isolated waves way bigger than what any crew might expect in a given sea state. 
By definition, rogue waves are ones whose height is more than twice that of the prevailing conditions. 
The largest scientifically measured rogue waves were encountered in February 2000, by the British oceanographic research vessel, the RRS Discovery. West of Scotland it recorded individual waves of up to 29.1 metres, almost the height of a 10 storey building. 
The causes of these waves are not completely understood, however they seem to happen more often when a strong ocean current runs counter to the direction of the waves.

Basically all routine informations, nothing new there.  My initial reaction was the article is probably an article for the summer doldrum, but it's not summer right now in Australia.  Is this really an amazing fact? I guess it depends on what do you consider as amazing. Anyway, it's still an interesting, and educational article for recommended reading list.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Freaque waves as icebreaker

In the midst of hot summer in North America, it's not timely to think of ice and icebreakers, but here's an interesting science article in entitle "Freak waves prove to be ultimate icebreaker" by Sarah-Jane O'Connor along with a video of helicopter deploying a buoy onto the Anarctic ice,  that just brings some cool summer thoughts to us:

''Freak waves'' observed by early Antarctic explorers break up sea ice hundreds of kilometres from the open water, New Zealand researchers have found. 
Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) found that waves bigger than 3 metres break ice much further away from the sea-ice edge than previously thought. 
Niwa oceanographer Dr Mike Williams said the study, published in Nature today, provided vital information that had been missing from models of sea ice and its effect on climate.
‘‘When these experiments were last carried out in the 1970s and 80s, people needed to be sitting on the sea ice to take measurements and that meant they couldn’t be out there when the big waves came through,’’ Williams said. 
The Niwa team developed wave buoys, so they ‘‘were able to put those out on the ice and leave them out during big storms’’, he said
What was interesting to note is this:

The Niwa scientists also compared data from 1997 to 2009 to examine the link between wave heights in the Southern Ocean and sea ice extent. 
‘‘What we’ve found is that where waves have got bigger the sea ice has retreated, and where waves have got smaller the sea ice has expanded,’’ Williams said. 
The research helped to explain why Antarctic sea ice had been increasing in some areas where climate models predicted it would decrease.
So the alarm of decreasing sea ice in Antarctica is just hot air! Now this is also of interest to us remembering
Sir Shackleton's expedition:

The effect of waves on sea ice has been known since the early days of Antarctic exploration. Ernest Shackleton was ‘‘famous for having had his ship trapped in ice’’, Williams said. 
After the men abandoned ship in the Weddell Sea, ‘‘freak waves’’ broke up the ice they had sought safety on. 
Williams said the knowledge could be beneficial for ships that get stuck in sea ice, if they knew there were big waves coming that could break the ice around them. He  said understanding how sea ice expands and retracts was an im important part of climate modelling. 
The connection between waves and ice they confirmed should inspire more interest in measurement ice and waves! Niwa scientists certainly deserve our utmost admiration for their detailed efforts!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

A 12 ft freaque wave outside east coast Florida (with Update)

This Article in Sun Sentinel of Florida, written by Brett Clarkson on May 5, 2014, tells a freaque wave encounter of two fishermen who were strained near Jupiter Inlet overnight clingling to their capsized boat and they were spotted by  Coast Guard plane early morning and successfully rescued: 

After 17 hours spent clinging to the hull of their capsized boat, Cory Bowman and Justyn Bradley knew their ordeal was finally nearing its end.
A U.S. Coast Guard C-130 plane had just flown overhead and was making another pass. They had wisely avoided the beer in their cooler all night, to stay alert and hydrated, but the presence of the Coast Guard aircraft in the morning sky was cause for celebration.
 Here's their story  
. . . the pair had set out from the Jupiter Inlet area on Bradley's 21-foot Parker to fish for some mahi-mahi. The trip was cut short around 4 p.m. when a 12-foot rogue wave came at them, capsizing the boat and tossing Bowman, 38, of Tequesta, and Bradley, 37, of Jupiter, into the ocean.
"It pitched my buddy Justyn 30 feet out of the boat, it literally just catapulted him," said Bowman, adding that he grew up in Florida and has spent a lot of time on the water. "This thing was just, I've never seen one that sharp, that tall. It was ridiculous."
After Bowman swam under the boat to retrieve two life jackets and their cooler, which they tied up and held on to, their long night began.
When night began to fall, Bowman said, gaffer dolphins started swimming around them, about 15 to 20 of them over several hours. The stars and moon shone light down on the water, and the phytoplankton glowed like lightning bugs. To Bowman, it sounded like his noise machine at home — just constant waves. There was conversation, but also bouts of silence.
          At one point, Bowman noted their predicament.      
"I told Justyn, I said, 'we're in trouble, dude, we're in serious trouble, dude,' " he said.
Bowman said waves washed him off the boat at least a half dozen times. The entire night, he lay on his stomach on the hull. He didn't sleep at all, and the night went by surprisingly fast, he said.
"Honestly, neither one of us ever panicked at all," Bowman said. "I really, truly believed I was going to get found. I didn't break down really until I got on land, saw my family, my wife."
Bradley's wife, Beth, on Monday described both men as seaworthy and said she alternated between calm and panic.
"I knew that if anybody was going to survive [out there], it was going to be those two," she said. "But the thought crosses your mind, what if they don't come home?"
ItAs for her husband, Beth Bradley said he was too tired and too shaken up to discuss the incident on Monday.
Quite a story -- all started with a 12 ft freaque wave that's clearly not part of their plan! It is remarkable that they kept their calm and cool, never panicked and even retain a sense of humor, along with their supreme optimism. Freaque wave did not recur but other waves did not allow them to have a peaceful night.but it makes the night "went by surprisingly fast"!


Sonja Isger and Julius Whigham II of Palm Beach Post have provided a detailed report of the men's encounter along with a Coast Guard rescue video when they interviewed Bowman:

Sitting in the garage of his Tequesta home Monday afternoon, Bowman said he was still shaken up by the experience. He recalled the moment that their 21-foot Parker boat was overturned by a “rogue” wave. The men had started to fish in earnest around noon and decided to stay out a while longer to see if they could find more fish.
“We were in about 500 feet of water and all of a sudden, this wave that came out of nowhere, it was literally completely rogue,” Bowman said. “This thing was probably the nastiest wave I think I’ve ever seen. This thing was probably about 12 foot and it was a sheer wall, straight up and down.”
“I told Justyn, ‘This is the biggest one of the day, hang on.’”
The wave came crashing down on top of, and to side of the boat, and flipped it within seconds, Bowman said. He said Bradley, who was standing in the back on the port side was catapulted from the boat about 30 feet. Bowman, who was standing on the starboard side, recalled hitting the water and going straight down 
“I went down and I popped up and the boat is capsized,” he said. “It’s about 4 o’clock (in the afternoon) and not one boat around and I knew we were in trouble.”
Bowman clamored to get on top of the overturned boat, while Bradley clung to a large fishing lure box. Bradley made his way to a cooler that was filled with bottles of water and then made his way to the top of the boat, Bowman said.
“I didn’t know if the boat was going to stay afloat,” Bowman said. “I was assuming the worst. You have to. We got all situated on there and (there were) no boats, no nothing, no anybody. “
Bowman swam underneath the boat to retrieve two life vests and rain jacket. He grabbed a tool box and searched for flares, but had to settle for a whistle, some drawstrings and zip ties instead.
Their cell phones were lost and radio communications disabled.
Bowman said he knew that his wife, Laurie, would contact the Coast Guard when she realized the men had not checked in and were out of contact. 

“I kept saying out loud, ‘Please, Laurie, call it in,” Bowman said.
Family members provided Coast Guard crews information about where the men had had started their fishing trip.
It is always good to read a happy ending story, especially when they provided some well observed numbers about the "nastiest" wave!