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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter July 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

Technip Bags Woodside's Subsea Contract

Technip has been awarded a large(1) subsea contract by Woodside to support the development of the Greater Enfield Project offshore Western Australia, at a water

Keel Laying for Russia's Second Nuclear Icebreaker

Today the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg (part of United Shipbuilding Corporation) laid the keel of Ural, Project 22220’s second series-produced nuclear icebreaker.

Guzmán Re-elected Harbor Commission President, Long Beach Port

Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán was re-elected Monday evening to serve a second one-year term leading the board that oversees the Port of Long Beach, the nation’s second-busiest seaport.

Marine Science

Fuel Consumption, Emissions Monitoring Software Updated

As part of the ongoing Blue Star Delos Renewable Energy Innovation Project, Eco Marine Power (EMP) stated that the Aquarius Management & Automation System (MAS)

Canada Embarks on Arctic Survey Mission

Canada has launched its 2016 Arctic expedition to collect important scientific information to support the nation’s submission on the extended continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean.

Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking to North and Baltic Seas?

For the first time, AWI scientists have found evidence of living, potentially pathogenic vibrions on microplastic particles. With increasing water temperatures

Maritime Safety

KVH's Zika Virus Safety Video for Mariners

KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI), announced today that it is offering Videotel’s new safety and training video about the Zika virus free to all mariners worldwide.

Ship Hits Panama Canal

The Panama Canal authority  (ACP) says a Chinese container ship’s damaging scrape with the canal’s new wider locks was caused by bad weather, Reuter quotes  ACP's  administrator, Jorge Quijano.

Alaska Juris Sinks, 46 People Rescued

The Fishing Company of Alaska, based in Renton, owns the  238-foot  Alaska Juris that started sinking in the Bering Sea shortly before noon on Tuesday, says a report in Seattle Times.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority 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: 0.1252 sec (8 req/sec)