MIT develops early warning system for rogue waves
The open ocean isdaunting enough when it's relatively calm, but add in the existenceof huge, seemingly randomly-occurring walls of water, and it becomes downright terrifying. Now, researchers at MIT have come up with a new way of predicting when a rogue wave is about to hit, giving ships andoffshore platforms a few precious minutes to prepare for thedangerous event.
To help warn vessels and platformscaught in the path of the destructive waves, the team of MIT researchersworked to create an algorithm that's able to spot clusters of wavesthat have a high possibility of developing into a rogue wave.
Previous attempts at rogue wavedetection have made use of complex systems that take aleave-no-wave-behind approach, tracking and simulating every singlewave in a given body of water. This does provide a high-resolutionpicture of the sea state, but the method is extremely computationallyintensive, making it too slow for quick detection.
The MIT method takes asimilar idea, but simplifies things significantly. Rather thananalyzing every single wave, the new tool looks for waves that areclustered together, rolling through the depths in a single movement.It's these groups of waves that tend to focus together, exchangingenergy and eventually forming one huge, rogue wave.
The system uses an algorithm to determine the probability of these groups forming rogue waves based on their length and height, which asidentified by analyzing wave data gathered by ocean buoys,combined with specialized wave water equations.
According to the team, the system is able to predict rogue waves 2-3 minutes before they fully develop, but in order for the tech to be utilized, platforms and ships will need to be fitted with compatible high-resolution scanning equipment, such as LIDAR and radar.
The work was recently published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.