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Earth Transportation Science Technology

A New Algorithm Could Protect Ships From 'Rogue Waves' (cio.com) 62

itwbennett writes: MIT researchers have developed a tool they say can predict so-called rogue waves, giant waves that seem to appear out of nowhere and can cause devastation to ships unlucky enough to be struck by them. The researchers found that certain wave groups end up 'focusing' or exchanging energy in a way that eventually leads to a rogue wave. The tool they developed uses an algorithm that sifts through data from surrounding waves and computes a probability that a particular wave group will turn into a rogue wave within the next few minutes.
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A New Algorithm Could Protect Ships From 'Rogue Waves'

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  • Would this make ocean-going ground-effect aircraft [wikipedia.org] (a la Ekranoplans) viable? It could create a third tier of shipping in between ship and air. Assuming, of course, that the necessary data can be gathered while traveling across the waves at several hundred mph.
    • by Longjmp ( 632577 )
      I very much doubt that. Ground-effect aircraft need, well, some kind of ground to fly.
      In a condition where rogue waves may appear, this "ground" is simply lacking between waves and the aircraft would probably nose-dive into the next wave.
      • Because they built this beastie

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          That looks like a link to the Caspian Sea Monster. IIRC, that was from the 1960s. Rogue Waves weren't well understood at the time because very few had observed them and lived to tell about them. I seem to recall having learned that, until not that long ago, they were believed to not even be real but exaggerated stories from fisherman and sketchy sailors.

          I dunno what you know about them but I know that I know very little about them other than what I've seen in a couple of documentaries. So, unless you know s

  • Rogue waves (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2016 @09:00PM (#51595979)

    Beware of well wishers that do not know anyone on the boat as it leaves.
    This causes great confusion. Legitimate wavers are overlooked as passengers divert their gaze to the rogue and miss a last chance farewell.

  • The "next few minutes" is basically just enough time to give the "abandon ship" order. To be useful the algorithm has to predict the rogue wave far enough in advance to let the ship turn and steam clear of the wave group. In a storm, that's probably 20-30 minutes which I don't see happening any time soon.

    • Great they have invented a you're Fucked warning.
    • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Friday February 26, 2016 @09:38PM (#51596145)

      Depends on the wave and the ship, but just turning the ship so it faces directly into the wave can be sufficient to greatly mitigate damage in a lot of cases. Being hit by an unexpected large wave broadside is typically worse than hitting it head-on, especially by reducing the risk of capsizing.

      That's actually been successfully done at least once [nytimes.com] even with current technology: the captain of a cruise ship in 1998 spotted a 90-foot (27-meter) rogue wave on radar, and turned the ship to face it head-on, avoiding serious damage.

      • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

        "You can't run your ship into an iceberg anymore, the radar is just too good," he said. "It would have to manned by a complete idiot."

        It would have to manned indeed. Got a chuckle out of that one.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Depends on the wave and the ship, but just turning the ship so it faces directly into the wave can be sufficient to greatly mitigate damage in a lot of cases. Being hit by an unexpected large wave broadside is typically worse than hitting it head-on, especially by reducing the risk of capsizing.

        Rogue wave or not, captains want to steer their ship into the wave as it's the only way to get through the water safely. Waves hitting broadside is asking for a capsize. Engine failure during a storm is considered a

        • If your engine fails during a storm and you have no way to generate sail power you can deploy a sea anchor [wikipedia.org] from the bow which will keep the ship pointed into the waves.
    • If a rogue wave is heading my way I think the last thing I'd want to do is abandon ship. Even with those self-contained lifeboats, unless you have a 4 point harness the tossing around is liable to kill you.
    • The "next few minutes" is basically just enough time to give the "abandon ship" order.

      Just enough time to switch to GEICO.
      Ogg say, better just to separate saucer section. Bad news for cheap tickets.

      Ogg think is not size of ship but shape and area above water make target for wave energy. Ogg duck under water, why cannot ship? Ship need water tightness on top but that just good sense. Silly people stack containers to sky on hippo boat make Ogg angry, just break apart and fill ocean with rubber ducks. Hippo boat has good side and bad side. Ogg think ducks. They bob. Bob bob and little duck head

  • Ok, so i like the research, but the theory that it could be used anytime soon for some type of rouge wave detection or prevention seems far fetched. I don't see it being very easy to map out wave activity in a large enough area in all the varying conditions you come across at sea AND produce any useful lead time in warning no less what does a warning do. Boats maneuver like.. boats. When you're out in the vast fluid dynamics of the ocean there isn't much you're going to do to get away from a wave or block
  • Drone measures "rogue wave" -> Generates radio wave -> warns ship.

    • by serbanp ( 139486 )

      Rogue waves travel fast, the one they've actually recorded was doing 45mph. They also can appear from a direction different from the prevailing swell. To cover a perimeter large enough to give advance warning (10 minutes?), you need a lot of drones.

  • I have a vague recollection of some mathematical link being postulated between rogue waves and some aspects of quantum mechanics.

    Anyone know what that might have been?

  • A short warning of five minutes or so would do very little to moderate the crushing damage done by rogue waves. No matter what position a ship is in a 150 ft. high wave is going to do major damage. It is not like one could run from a rogue wave as ships are slow compared to waves. Smaller vessels have no hope at all. The recent proof of gravity waves got me to wondering if a rogue gravity wave could ever take place. Imagine what that might entail.
    • Side of a ship: long and vertical.

      Bow (that's the front): Narrow and pointy.

      It makes a difference where you get hit. Have you ever even seen a boat, let alone been in one?

  • I know everyone has seen the example where two waves meet up and their amplitudes add up, creating a huge peak. While the arithmetic of that is correct, the actual dynamic behavior of waves is a lot more complex [wikipedia.org]. What you see as a wave is only a partial instantaneous manifestation of an energy pulse in the water. Waves do not propagate in isolation like you learned in high school. As with coupled pendulums [youtube.com], there is energy transference between individual waves.

    So instead of taking the arithmetic appr
  • The captain will want to know about this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

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