Article by Dee White
In 1978 the MS Munchen sent a garbled Mayday message from the mid-Atlantic. The ship was never found but an exhaustive search found just a few bits of wreckage, including an unlaunched lifeboat which had been stowed 20 metres (65 feet) above the water line. One of its attachment pins had twisted as if hit by an extreme force. The culprit was believed to be a rogue wave.
- Rogue waves are often associated with sites where ordinary waves encounter ocean currents and eddies. The strength of the current concentrates the wave energy, forming large waves. Examples have occurred in the notoriously dangerous Agulhas current off the east coast of South Africa and also in the North Atlantic where the Gulf Streaminteracts with waves coming down from the Labrador Sea.
- Data shows that rogue waves also occur in areas well away from currents, possibly being associated with weather fronts and lows. Sustained winds from long-lived storms, exceeding 12 hours, may enlarge waves moving at an optimum speed in sync with the wind.
- In the field of Quantum Physics, a concept called the “Schrodinger Equation” is based on the belief that in certain unstable conditions waves can steal energy from their neighbours. Adjacent waves shrink, while the one at the centre can grow to an enormous size.