Scientists announce largest comparative rogue wave ever detected

Washington Examiner – by Virginia Aabram

Researchers detected the largest rogue wave ever in terms of proportionality, with a height of 58 feet that measured out to three times that of surrounding waves.

The giant was first detected in November 2020 by a buoy 4.3 miles off the coast of Vancouver Island in Canada. Scientists released the study in February, confirming it to be the largest of its kind ever seen.

“Only a few rogue waves in high sea states have been observed directly, and nothing of this magnitude,” Johannes Gemmrich, a lead researcher on rogue waves at the University of Victoria, told CNN. “The probability of such an event occurring is one in 1,300 years.”

Rogue waves are defined by being at least twice the height of surrounding waves and are whipped up by winds. They can move against the wind and currents and appear out of seemingly nowhere, according to the report. Because of their fantastical elements, the existence of rogue waves was dismissed as sailors’ folklore until a few decades ago.

The first rogue wave detected was near Norway in 1995, measuring 84 feet compared to adjacent 40-foot waves. The Vancouver wave measured in at nearly three times that of its 20-foot neighbors.

Swells of this kind can pose a danger due to their force and unpredictability. This wave, however, didn’t seem to cause damage due to its distance from shore.

“They are unexpected, so the vessel operator has little warning,” Gemmrich said. “If it is high enough that it can cause some damage to the vessel, the operator has no time to change course or react to it.”

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