Researchers confirm record “rogue wave” off the coast of Vancouver Island two years ago

A pair of University of Victoria academics have confirmed that a record-breaking “rogue wave” was observed off the coast of Vancouver Island two years ago. Johannes Gemmrich and Leah Cicon explain data they evaluated from a buoy stationed off the coast of Vancouver Island in their work published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Rogue waves are a type of wave with a crest disproportionately higher than the waves around it. Though sometimes confused with tsunamis, rogue waves are quite different.
They are thought to be generated by winds, whereas tsunamis are generally created by geologic events such as earthquakes.
Also, rogue waves reach their heights out at sea, whereas the size of a tsunami is generally not seen until it encounters land.
In this new effort, the research pair studied data from one of the buoys stationed off the coast of Canada near Vancouver Island.
Such buoys alert ships to unusual sea conditions. The rogue wave under study had first been observed shortly after it occurred, back in November 2020. In this new effort, the researchers took a closer look at the data sent from the buoy to confirm the initial findings.
They found that the buoy had measured a wave that was 17.6 meters high, while the waves around it were averaging just 6 meters high.
Records for such waves are represented as the proportion of the difference in height between the rogue wave and those around it. The proportion in this instance set a new record for largest ever observed.
Ocean scientists are still trying to figure out how rogue waves get their start, how they grow so large, and how long they are able to maintain their height.
Understanding them is important because rogue waves tend to surprise crew aboard ships, which means they typically do not have time to take such actions as changing the heading of a ship to steer directly into the wave. Without such information, a large rogue wave can capsize a ship, putting its crew in serious danger.

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