MIT now able to predict killer waves

They study the intensity and energy level and note the energy exchange rate between the waves of water.
By Alex Bourque | Apr 25, 2016
The sea can be a dangerous place, especially when a ship experiences killer waves. The waves are notorious for appearing out of nowhere and can cause significant devastation. They suddenly appear and can rise to eight feet without warning, causing damage to even a large ship. They are so unpredictable because of the way they form and how quickly they manifest.

Rogue waves are formed when a group of smaller waves share their energy and merge to form one big monstrosity. The current swells up, and that is what causes the wave to rise and crush with such force.

Scientists have previously used mathematical equations on each wave using probability and statistics to see where next it will form. However, this approach is expensive and time-consuming. By the time, they discover where the wave will form it usually has already caused devastation. MIT have come up with a new approach to this problem. They observe groups of waves running along each other in the ocean. They study the intensity and energy level and note the energy exchange rate between the waves of water. The more the energy exchange, the higher the probability of the formation of a rogue wave.

"It's precise in the sense that it's telling us very accurately the location and the time that this rare event will happen, said Sapsis said, from MIT. "We have a range of possibilities, and we can say that this will be a dangerous wave, and you'd better do something."

MIT says they can predict an occurrence two or three minutes before it strikes giving the crew enough time to prepare and shut down the ship's electronics and equipment.


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