Scientist Seeks Rogue Wave Hot Spots

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 9, 2009 7:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – A California scientist says he's closer to predicting the kind of rogue waves that have terrified seamen for centuries, the BBC reports. Rising as high as 6 stories and destroying ships with a single wallop, such waves occur where sand banks and currents force wave energy to focus on a single point, says scientist Tim Janssen, who has devised a computer model to identify rogue wave hot spots.

California surfer beaches are perfect examples, but river and bay mouths can generate the same rogue conditions, Janssen tells the San Jose Mercury News. Now, the geosciences professor hopes to identify locations where such waves are ten times more likely to occur. "We are a long way away from making a prediction solid enough for people to actually use," he admits, but calls it "something to work towards."

In this image released by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), surfer Bruce Irons, of Hawaii, wipes out on a huge wave, Sunday, April 29, 2007 in Teahupoo, Tahiti.   (AP Photo/Karen Wilson, ASP)
In this photo provided by ASP World Tour, Hawaiian Andy Irons rides a wave to win the Rip Curl Pro Search title in Arica, Chile, Thursday, June 28, 2007.   (AP Photo/Sean Rowland/Covered Images)
A scene from the film "A Perfect Storm."   (MovieWeb)
A surfer rides a wave as giant waves break over a sea wall in Gorleston-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth as a tidal surge hits the east coast of England Friday Nov. 9, 2007.   (AP Photo/Ian Nicholson/PA Wire)
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