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 August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

Bollinger VP Fanguy Snags SNAME Award

Louisiana-based shipbuilder Bollinger Shipyards, LLC announced its vice president for quality management system, Dennis Fanguy, will receive the 2015 William M.

Deal Reached to End MyFerryLink Dispute

A deal was reached on Monday to save hundreds of ferry jobs at the northern French port of Calais, the French transport minister said, ending a dispute that has

Titanic's Last Luncheon Menu Heading to Auction

More than a century after first-class passengers aboard the ill-fated Titanic ate grilled mutton chops and custard pudding in an elaborate dining room, the ship's

Marine Science

Hurricane Fred Strengthens in Eastern Atlantic

Hurricane Fred strengthened early Monday in the eastern Atlantic as it approached the Cape Verde Islands, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika brought flooding to parts of South Carolina,

Australian Defence Unveils Indigenous Artwork

Defence today unveiled an Indigenous painting at its Science and Technology headquarters in Canberra as a mark of respect for cultural diversity within the organisation.

World’s Quickest Trip Through Northern Sea Route

Chinese sailor Guo Chuan intends to make it world’s quickest Northern Sea Route trip from Murmansk to the Bering Strait in 14 days without engine power. His

Maritime Safety

Hurricane Fred Strengthens in Eastern Atlantic

Hurricane Fred strengthened early Monday in the eastern Atlantic as it approached the Cape Verde Islands, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika brought flooding to parts of South Carolina,

Cargo Ship Collides with Fueling Vessel at Sea

A 24-meter fuelling vessel, Erin Wood, was towed to Peterhead Saturday after a collision with a Cyprus registered cargo vessel, Daroja, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported.

Greek Coastguard Rescues 2,500 over Three Days

Greece's coastguard has rescued about 2,500 migrants and refugees off the country's eastern islands over the past three days, authorities said on Monday, as the

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 1.1220 sec (1 req/sec)