According to a recent research, a gigantic wave the size of a four-story skyscraper is thought to be the most intense rogue ever observed. In 2020, the marine beast swam through waters off Vancouver Island’s west coast, where it was discovered by open ocean buoys. The Marine Environmental Data Section documented the extreme wave height at Amphitrite Bank, where the buoy was deployed, and collected the data. The authors of a research published in Scientific Reports were able to use this information to create rogue wave models, simulations, and predictors, determining that the “Ucluelet wave” was nearly three times the height of neighboring waves at 17.6 meters (57.7 feet).
Rogue waves are distinguished by their significant disconnection from the surrounding waves, referred to as the “wave field.” While the Ucluelet wave isn’t the tallest wave ever recorded, due to its size, this rogue wave is regarded to be the most intense ever recorded. When the background wave field was 6 meters [19.7 feet], the Ucluelet wave had an absolute wave height of 17.6 meters [57.7 feet] and a crest height of roughly 12 meters [39.3 feet], according to research author Dr Johannes Gemmrich of the University of Victoria.
“As a result, the normalized wave height was about three and the normalized crest height was approximately two,” says the author. The less likely such an incident is, the higher the normalized wave height. The normalized heights of all other rogue waves documented so far ranged from 2.2 to 2.5 meters, making them two to three orders of magnitude more frequent.” According to Gemmrich, the researchers determined that the Ucluelet wave occurred once every 1,300 years using Second Order Theory, the industry standard for predicting the occurrence rate of strong waves. Rogue Wave’s Top Trumps are truly gleaming.
All of this sounds amazing, but what does this knowledge mean in the actual world for individuals at sea? Can a freighter handle a wave field when one rogue wave is more than twice the height of the others? Just about, in the case of the 17.6 meter [57.7 foot] Ucluelet wave, although it would be a rude awakening. “Large vessels and offshore constructions are designed to withstand waves of up to 18 meters [59 feet],” Gemmrich added. “It’s the smaller vessels that are in danger.” The vessel operator would not expect an 18 meter [59 foot] wave in a 6 meter [20 foot] sea state.”
The discovery’s authors have since utilized data from the Ucluelet wave to test a new rogue wave risk forecast they developed in partnership with the Nils-Bohr Institute. “We hope to move this forward to an operational prediction that the national weather agencies can apply,” Gemmrich said.