Study shows how slight wind shift can create monstrous ship-sinking waves

December 29th, 2007 - 5:27 pm ICT by admin  

London, December 29 (ANI): Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have found that a slight change in the wind may be enough to cause a wave to become a ten-storey deadly leviathan.

This is the first time that a study has given insight as to how waves big enough to sink the biggest ships develop.

It comes three years after satellite images pin-pointed by the European Space Agency provided solid evidence of the existence of rogue waves.

Lead researcher Daniel Solli says that such freak waves can occur not only in water, but also in light, which is ruled by similar mathematical laws.

He says that a small change in conditions can tickle waves in their most sensitive spots, creating a monster out of all proportion to the original disturbance.

During the study, the researchers used pulses of noise to subject lightwaves to disturbances, which triggered the creation of rogue waves.

They admitted that such disturbances generally had little effect, but insisted that they might lead waves to grow 30-40 times bigger than average at times.

The optical freak waves we have observed are seeded by noise. In this case, noise can be described as a small disturbance in the starting lightwaves, or in other words, a few extra photons out of place here and there, so to speak. As it turns out, the starting waves, which are smooth, are very sensitive to this noise. If the noise happens to contain a particular frequency component at the right instant in time, then an intense, steep wave develops, Times Online quoted Solli as telling Nature magazine.

Essentially noise with the right characteristics tickles the initial wave in its most sensitive spot, and this leads to the development of an optical rogue wave. Since the mathematics that describe ocean waves in the deep sea are very similar, we believe these findings may also offer clues to the monstrous oceanic freak waves that have terrified seafarers for centuries, he added. (ANI)

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