Rogue Waves


“Rogue wave” is a popular term for an unusually large ocean wave that can cause damage to ships or endanger people. There are three issues to be discussed. First, some media accounts of rogue waves really just refer to very rough seas. Second, for the scientist, the term rogue wave refers to waves that are larger than the average in a particular sea state by a specified multiplier. The third issue is the most interesting: In a given sea state, do these large, rare, rogue waves occur more frequently than expected from standard dynamical or statistical models? An alternative version of this question is: Do waves that are larger than the average by a particular multiple occur more frequently than predicted? We examine each of these issues, along with further questions that arise.
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