As much as we like to believe that we somewhat tamed nature, the truth is we can never master it completely. Animals can be domesticated, vegetation controlled, but the raw power of nature is as unforeseeable and devastating as always. And nature itself keeps changing as we do, and is always one step ahead of us.
At the moment, we are facing an issue regarding the seas and the oceans. Huge waves eight times higher than the level of the water appear out of nowhere and wreak havoc. Scientists have been trying to understand how these rogue waves appear, and in doing so have discovered a way to detect them early by using an algorithm.
Rogue waves that can reach heights of 95 feet (29 meters) pose threats to both coastal towns and ships. Even though they are not a frequent phenomenon, they have been called monster or killer waves because they appear out of nowhere, without any previous signs, and thus take many unaware. They also do not seem to be influenced by weather patterns since many have witnessed them even on sunny days.
However, they are not only impressive to behold, but also deadly. Their power permits them to destroy anything from small boats to huge ships and ocean liners. Many scientists have attempted to predict the monstrous waves, but none of them were successful. They have previously tried to simulate the waves in a medium of water, but this proved inaccurate.
However, a couple of MIT researchers have decided to tackle the problem in another way, and what they found out is astonishing. It appears that small waves communicate with each other and thus exchange energy. The trade of energy between them can occasionally make one become larger. The dynamic context is what actually feeds those waves with power and they thus become the destructive rogue waves.
Using previous data as well as this new information, the MIT researchers quantified the waves’ possibility of appearing in a body of water. In this way they were able to create an algorithm for predicting which groups of waves will transform into monstrous ones. Surrounding waves send data and thus they are actually telling both the location and the time of the next rogue wave.
While the warning comes only a couple of minutes before the wave strikes, it will surely prove of great use to us, and save lives and ships alike.
Image Source: Wave Water Works