Just having returned from our trip on the P&O ARCADIA which took us through the Med, we looked back at the pictures from our crossing in December on the QE2. And realised just how ROUGH that was!
It was therefore, interesting to read this article that appeared on http://www.nature.com and refers to the HUGE wave that hit the QE2 some years back… and warns we may be seeing more…
“40-metre monsters may account for mysteriously vanished ships.
Immense waves capable of sinking the largest ships might not be freaks of nature, but a common result of hurricanes.
That's the implication of new evidence that Hurricane Ivan, which whirled across the
David Wang and his colleagues at the Naval Research Laboratory in
But they say that the waves near the eye of the hurricane, which unfortunately passed over the sensors while they were not taking measurements, would probably have topped 40 metres.
"These are the largest wave heights ever recorded with instruments in US waters", says Wang's colleague William Teague. "They're larger than we ever thought they would be." Ivan wasn't even a particularly large hurricane, he adds.
Terrible walls of water are a staple of nautical lore. But oceanographers have only recently come to accept them, as simple statistics suggest that such extreme events should almost never happen.
But there's no fundamental reason why ocean waves can't grow to immense sizes. "Nobody knows what the upper limit might be," says Paul Liu of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in
The largest waves to hit shore come from tsunamis - waves generated most often by seafloor movements during major earthquakes. But while at sea these waves are just a few centimetres high, only growing as they reach shallow waters. The
There are eyewitness accounts of similarly enormous waves at sea. In 1995, the Queen Elizabeth 2 liner survived an encounter with one about 30 metres high in the North Atlantic, and six years later a similar wave smashed windows on the cruise ship Bremen in the South Atlantic and nearly sank it.
It is now widely suspected that such rogue waves, generated by wind and currents, might explain the mysterious, regular disappearance of large ships at sea. One, the German supertanker München, vanished in 1978.
Such waves are generally ascribed to unusual circumstances, such as fast-moving storms. But the new findings, reported in Science, suggest that waves even larger than these might romp across the oceans whenever a hurricane hits.
Shuyi Chen, a specialist on computer modelling of hurricanes at the
Il Ju Moon, an oceanographer at the