Incredible peak waves can come out of the sea like the eruption of water

Incredible peak waves can come out of the sea like the eruption of water


Technological Innovation Website Editor – 06/15/2022


The peak wave looks like a “water eruption”, which occurs when small waves intersect and interact constructively.
[Imagem: University of Oxford]

Super waves

Wandering waves, or traveling waves have told stories for centuries, sailors swearing they saw monstrous waves rising across the sea without any storm.

Only recently have these superwaves released folktales and incorporated them into scientific knowledge. Nevertheless, since they are rare, there are few reported cases, and as a result, we have all the assumptions we have about the mechanism of their creation.

But it seems that the oceans can have more bizarre and higher waves – a wandering wave is characterized by at least twice the height of the average wave in a given area.

In a new laboratory experiment on ocean wave braking, researchers have shown that the so-called “peak wave” braking behavior is very different from the long-established theory of passenger wave braking.

And, since they do not adhere to models built on these principles, these peak waves can reach much higher heights than expected, in addition, they form suddenly, almost like a water explosion.


The profile of the peak wave (left) is completely different from the normal wave (right) and can be formed by very light cross ripples.
[Imagem: M. L. McAllister et al. – 10.1017/jfm.2021.1023]

Breaking waves

The waves break when they are so vertical that the rock does not stay still. This disrupts movement and reduces energy. As a result, the wave height is limited by the braking process.

Now, researchers in the UK and the Netherlands have made the first simulation of how waves break out in three dimensions in a sea tank using a round tank. Until then, all experiments were carried out in long tanks, which allow to study the process of breaking waves in only two dimensions.

The use of a circular tank led to another innovation: with axial symmetry – axial symmetry – the study of three-dimensional waves. These waves, known as spike waves, are similar to the waves that form when a drop of water falls on the surface of still water.

The difference is that the generation process is very different: the peak waves that researchers wanted to study are usually created by the wind, a process in which numerous waves coming from all directions interact and grow constructively. Wave. Big

Experiments with wave tanks have shown that the braking behavior of axial symmetrical waves is very different from that of wave breaking relative to passenger waves.


The creation of water jets is almost explosive.
[Imagem: M. L. McAllister et al. – 10.1017/jfm.2021.1023]

Peak wave break

As the waves formed and accumulated in the tank, a large vertical jet of water erupted from the top of the waves, which rose and soon crashed into the free fall below the surface of the water.

Unlike traveling waves, the height of the peak wave crest was not limited by the onset of the brakes, but by the stability of the vertical jets above the surface of the tank.

Mark McAllister, a professor at Oxford University, said: “This study reveals the basic mechanism by which cross-wave and high-direction scattering waves can become much larger than other waves, moving upwards faster than gravity for a short period of time.”

The resulting ripples, almost a thousand times larger than previous experiments, have significant implications for maritime security.

Delft professor Tone van den Bremer explained, “Peak waves are a perfect example of the kind of behavior that makes up the so-called cross sea, where ripple systems travel in different directions, dangerous to open sea ships and structures.” Bremer explained. University of Technology.


Articles: Wave breaking and jet formation on gravitational waves of axial symmetrical surfaces
Authors: ML McAllister, S. Draycott, T. Davey, Y. Yang, TAA Adcock, S. Liao, TS van den Bremer
Magazine: Journal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume: 935, A5
DOI: 10.1017 / jfm.2021.1023

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