ANU News Room 4 April 2012
Scientists have used a Lego pirate floating in a fishtank to demonstrate for the first time that so-called ‘super rogue waves’ can come from nowhere in apparently calm seas and engulf ships.
The research team, led by Professor Nail Akhmediev of the Research School of Physics and Engineering at ANU, working with colleagues from Hamburg University of Technology and the University of Turin have been conducting experiments in nonlinear dynamics, to try and explain so-called rogue or killer waves. These high-impact ‘monsters of the deep’, can appear in otherwise tranquil oceans causing danger, and even sinking ships. Using a scientific fish tank, a wave generator and a Lego man on a ship floating on the water surface, the scientists were able to demonstrate that rogue waves much bigger than previously thought can occur. The team have labelled these ‘super rogue waves’, as they can be up to five times bigger than the other waves around them. “This is an extraordinary fact that could explain some mysterious observations of rogue waves in calm sea states,” Akhmediev says.
- See The Pirate Movie
(takes a little while to download)