Wave Height Models Calm the Shipping Waters

press release
Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Texas A&M Profs' Wave Height Models Could Mean Smoother Sailing For Ships.

 

Just as truck drivers want to know about road conditions and airline pilots are concerned with foggy skies, ship captains have an urgent need to know about wave heights – as do surfers and others who spend time on the seas and shores. A Texas A&M University at Galveston professor has spent his career studying large waves and what causes them.

 

Vijay Panchang, Regents Professor at Texas A&M's branch campus by the sea, has been researching waves for more than 25 years and has developed modeling systems that can predict wave heights in several types of conditions.

 

He has developed wave prediction and coastal circulation models that have been used by numerous maritime engineering groups from Maine to Texas. Such information can literally be a lifesaver for all sizes of ships, from recreational fishing boats to oil tankers that are as long as three city blocks.

 

Using data from NOAA and his own complex models, Panchang can provide wave model predictions for much of Texas' 367-mile coastline, and also projections for much of the Gulf of Mexico.

 

"The models are based on a variety of information such as wind speed, wind direction, seabed topography, offshore weather conditions and other factors," Panchang explains.

 

"Such information can be useful to anyone on the water at that time. But we can also use wave information in engineering design and to predict sediment transport."

 

Current wave models cannot predict tsunamis because they are caused by other physical causes such as sudden movements of the seafloor due to earthquakes.

 

But his modeling system was able to predict accurate wave heights during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In that storm, buoys recorded 60-foot waves off the coast of Alabama.

 

He says it is also difficult to predict "rogue" waves that sometimes pop up in the Gulf  but can occur all over the world.

 

Rogue waves are waves that are considered unusually large for a particular region or "sea state," and they usually occur far out at sea. They can be especially dangerous to ships, even large cargo ships or cruise liners. They can also happen on lakes, and numerous ones have been reported in Lake Superior, Lake Ontario and other areas of the Great Lakes.

 

Rogue waves can reach enormous heights. One of the most famous incidents involving a rogue wave happened on Dec. 13, 1978 with the German ship MS Munchen. The cargo ship was in the North Atlantic when it issued a distress call and moments later vanished. An investigation concluded that a rogue wave between 80 to 100 feet high hit the ship, likely breaking it into pieces and causing it to sink, killing all 28 crew members.

 

"Rogue waves can be impossible to predict because no one seems to know exactly what causes them," Panchang says.

 

"We do know they can reach 100 feet high and perhaps even higher than that.  We try to predict wave conditions that we know about, and where the data is in more of a controlled state.

 

"When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, it rewrote much of what we had believed about waves," he adds.  "It produced conditions that we did not think were possible, but it gave us critical new information about wave structure and movement.

 

"In the past, some waves were called 'hundred-year waves' because it was believed that such waves only occurred every 100 years or so.  But the hurricanes of the past decade or so have shown us that is not true – they can occur much more often.  They have given us information that allows us to give more precise models about waves and how strong and high they can be."

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

Saudi SABIC Q1 Profit Falls 1.8 % On Product Prices

Profit at Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), one of the world's biggest petrochemical firms, slipped 1.8 percent in the first quarter of this year as lower

Korean Ferry Captain's Detention Could Extend As Death Toll Mounts

South Korean prosecutors investigating a ferry disaster said on Sunday they would seek to extend the detention of the ship's captain and two other crew by 10

First Bodies Recoved From Sunken Ferry

South Korean divers retrieved three bodies from inside a sunken ferry overnight, officials said on Sunday, the first time they have been able to gain entry to the passenger section of the ship.

Marine Science

Schlumberger Announces Q1 Results

Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB) today reported first-quarter 2014 revenue from continuing operations of $11.24 billion versus $11.91 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, and $10.

GE Gas Turbines Power USS America

GE Marine reports that the United States Navy’s future USS America (LHA 6) amphibious assault ship recently completed successful acceptance sea trials powered by two GE LM2500+ marine gas turbines.

KVH Precision Sensors for Geodetics' Inertial Navigation Systems

KVH Industries entered into a strategic partnership with Geodetics Inc., a leader in the development of real-time, high-precision position and navigation solutions.

Maritime Safety

Coast Guard tactical air squadron holds change of command ceremony

Capt. Kevin P. Gavin relieved Capt. Donna L. Cottrell as commanding officer of Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Jacksonville during a change of command ceremony at HITRON Friday.

RS at SEA JAPAN 2014

Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) was the only Russian company to take part in SEA JAPAN 2014 exhibition and conference – one of the major exhibitions of the maritime industry.

Bodies found trapped in S Korean ferry

Divers searching for survivors of a capsized South Korean ferry saw three bodies floating through a window of a passenger cabin on Saturday but were unable to retrieve them,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1868 sec (5 req/sec)