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  • Rogue waves

    Posted on July 17th, 2022 cwmoore No comments

    Rogue waves—enigmatic giants of the sea—were thought to be caused by two different mechanisms. But a new idea that borrows from the hinterlands of probability theory has the potential to predict them all.

    Rogue waves long lived only as sailor lore. Hard evidence of their existence has come only in the past few decades. Credit: Andreas Rocha for Quanta Magazine.

    Mariners have known for centuries what researchers have documented only in recent decades: The ocean is a far more dangerous place than common sense would suggest. Data-driven researchers long struggled to square sailors’ tales of monstrous “rogue” waves with the expectation that wave heights vary like human heights — clustering around an average with a few outliers dotting the thin tails of a bell curve. Sure, you might get a wave twice as tall as its neighbors in theory, but you’d have to watch the seas for a long time.

    If you are a sailor read this for sure:


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