They that go down to the sea in ships have never doubted the existence of rogue waves.
But scientists are often resistant to observations which don’t conform to their existing models.
Fortunately the ANU is letting us know they’ve figured out how it happens with the help of a fish tank and a lego pirate.
Using a scientific fish tank, a wave generator and a Lego man on a ship floating on the water surface, the scientists were able to demonstrate that rogue waves much bigger than previously thought can occur. The team have labelled these ‘super rogue waves’, as they can be up to five times bigger than the other waves around them. A video of the experiment can be seen here [Above]
“This observation could have far-reaching consequences for our efforts to understand these waves that are, by far, still mysterious,” said Dr Akmediev.
“The large amplification of the rogue wave peak above the normal waves around it suggests the existence of a new class of waves – the so-called ‘super rogue waves’. Our results show that, even in a sea characterised by small waves, rogue waves can naturally develop due to the nonlinear dynamics of the surface elevation.
“This is an extraordinary fact that could explain some mysterious observations of rogue waves in calm sea states.”
Rogue waves have only recently been accepted as science fact, rather than fishermans’ tales of the deep sea. Despite decades of debate among scientists, a prototype of how a rogue wave could develop – called the Peregrine soliton – was only very recently observed experimentally in fibre optics.