Student Seminar

Rogue Waves: From Maritime Myth to a Modern Model

Michael Dobinson, SFU Physics
Location: C9000

Friday, 24 March 2023 01:30PM PDT


Rogue waves can appear suddenly, sinking ships and overwhelming drilling platforms with their tremendous power. They are distinct from other types of waves as they can appear in deep water, with a wave height more than twice that of surrounding waves. Prior to modern oceanographic surveys, these rare events were once thought to be a myth, and they were not consistent with the Gaussian wave height models of the time. In 1995, an oil drilling platform in the North Sea made the first digital measurement of a rogue wave which is now known as the “Draupner wave.” This measurement sparked major changes to wave height models and further investigation into the physical mechanisms behind rogue wave formation. Recent experiments have successfully recreated rogue waves formed by constructive interference and further research into other mechanisms including nonlinear phenomena is ongoing. In this talk, I will discuss modern modelling efforts and the measurements that inform them. I will also discuss alternative theoretical models for rogue waves that have been proposed.