Researchers announce that a 17.6-meter sinister wave – the most powerful sinister wave ever recorded – was measured in the waters off Ucluelet, British Columbia.
The rogue wave, which is as high as a four-story building, was recorded in November 2020 by Marine Labs data systems based in Victoria, British Columbia. It is the subject of a scientific report by Dr. Johannes Jimreich and Leah Seccon, both from the University of Victoria, published in the journal, Scientific Reports.
The giant wave measured three times the height of the surrounding wave. Rogue waves are waves that are more than twice as high as other waves that occur around them. Also known as freak or killer waves, their tendency to occur unexpectedly and with tremendous force makes them particularly dangerous, and they have been regularly linked to the growing flood of box spills from many container ships in recent years.
The first rogue wave ever measured occurred off the coast of Norway in 1995. Known as the Draubner wave, it measured 25.6 m in a sea state with a wave height of about 12 m – twice the size of the wave occurring around it. The wave recorded by MarineLabs at Ucluelet was 17.6 meters in a marine condition with a wave height of about 6 meters – nearly three times the size of the surrounding waves.
“Relatively speaking, the occult wave is likely to be the most extreme rogue wave ever recorded,” said Jimrich, who studies large wave events along the coast of British Columbia as part of his work as a physicist at the University of Victoria. “Only a few rogue waves on the high seas have been directly observed, and none of this magnitude. The probability of such an event occurring once every 1,300 years.”
The record-setting Ucluelet wave was recorded by one of MarineLabs’ sensor buoys deployed at Amphitrite Bank, about 7 kilometers off Ucluelet Beach.
“The unpredictability of rogue waves, and the sheer force of these water walls can make them extremely dangerous to offshore operations and the public,” said Dr. Scott Petty, CEO of Marine Labs. “The predictability of rogue waves remains an open question, but our data helps to better understand when, where and how rogue waves form and the risks they pose.”
Successive winters in the North Pacific have seen many box-spill incidents, most notably one point (Pictured), which lost up to $200 million in containers in late 2020. Weather experts are tracking one pointThe ship’s path indicates that the storm cell it hit may have seen the ship hit by waves up to 16 metres.
It is estimated that one in 10,000 waves is an evil wave – but although it has been the subject of marine folklore for centuries, it was first officially recorded in the 1990s.
A 2019 study looking at two decades of wave data by the UK’s National Oceanographic Center and the University of Southampton found that rogue wave heights were increasing by 1% year on year.
The researchers also found that rogue waves varied over the seasons, becoming “ferocious” in winter—that is, in terms of the relative height of the rogue wave relative to background waves.
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