The physics of anomalous (‘rogue’) ocean waves

  title={The physics of anomalous (‘rogue’) ocean waves},
  author={Thomas A. A. Adcock and Paul H. Taylor},
  journal={Reports on Progress in Physics},
There is much speculation that the largest and steepest waves may need to be modelled with different physics to the majority of the waves on the open ocean. This review examines the various physical mechanisms which may play an important role in the dynamics of extreme waves. We examine the evidence for these mechanisms in numerical and physical wavetanks, and look at the evidence that such mechanisms might also exist in the real ocean. 
A note on the variation in shape of linear rogue waves in the ocean
The average shape of large waves in the open ocean made up of linear waves with random phase is given by ‘NewWave’ defined by the auto-correlation function of the wave spectrum. In this note we
Near-inertial waves and deep ocean mixing
For the existing pattern of global oceanic circulation to exist, there should be sufficiently strong turbulent mixing in the abyssal ocean, the mechanisms of which are not well understood as yet. The
Fully nonlinear simulations of unidirectional extreme waves provoked by strong depth transitions: The effect of slope
Recent studies of surface gravity waves propagating over a sloping bottom have shown that an increase in the probability of extreme waves can be triggered by depth variations in sufficiently shallow
Nonlinear Wave Interaction in Coastal and Open Seas: Deterministic and Stochastic Theory
We review the theory of wave interaction in finite and infinite depth. Both of these strands of water-wave research begin with the deterministic governing equations for water waves, from which
Field measurement of nonlinear changes to large gravity wave groups
The dynamics of large gravity waves are known to be modified from the linear model by nonlinear physics. In this paper we analyse Eulerian surface elevation time histories measured from two sites,
Statistics of rogue waves in isotropic wave fields
Abstract We investigate the statistics of rogue waves occurring in the inverse cascade of surface gravity wave turbulence. In such statistically homogeneous, stationary and isotropic wave fields,
Why rogue waves occur atop abrupt depth transitions
Abstract Abrupt depth transitions (ADTs) have recently been identified as potential causes of ‘rogue’ ocean waves. When stationary and (close-to-) normally distributed waves travel into shallower
Nonlinear dynamics of wave-groups in random seas: unexpected walls of water in the open ocean
This paper investigates the size and structure of large waves on the open ocean. We investigate how nonlinear physics modifies waves relative to those predicted by a linear model. We run linear
Dynamical systems theory methods to study mixing and transport in the ocean
We review the recently developed dynamical systems and chaos theory approach in oceanography that focuses on finding and specifying fundamental geometric structures in the ocean and their impact on


Statistical properties of directional ocean waves: the role of the modulational instability in the formation of extreme events.
Two independent, large scale experiments performed in two wave basins of different dimensions show that the probability of the formation of large amplitude waves strongly depends on the directional properties of the waves.
Nonlinear Four-Wave Interactions and Freak Waves
Four-wave interactions are shown to play an important role in the evolution of the spectrum of surface gravity waves. This fact follows from direct simulations of an ensemble of ocean waves using the
The evolution of large ocean waves: the role of local and rapid spectral changes
  • R. GibsonC. Swan
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2006
This paper concerns the formation of large-focused or near-focused waves in both unidirectional and directional sea-states. When the crests of wave components of varying frequency superimpose at one
Aspects of wave dynamics and statistics on the open ocean
A new approach is developed for measuring the directional spreading of a sea-state, and it is found that energy input accentuates the non-linear dynamics of wave-group evolution which suggests it may be important in the formation of "freak" waves.
This volume covers the entire field of wave studies that is of interest to applied oceanographers and ocean/marine engineers. There is considerable relevance to coastal engineering, with the book
Laboratory evidence of freak waves provoked by non-uniform bathymetry
We show experimental evidence that as relatively long unidirectional waves propagate over a sloping bottom, from a deeper to a shallower domain, there can be a local maximum of kurtosis and skewness
Extreme waves in random crossing seas: Laboratory experiments and numerical simulations
We present an experimental and numerical investigation on the statistical properties of the surface elevation in crossing sea conditions. Experiments are performed in a very large wave basin (70 m ×
Experimental evidence of the modulation of a plane wave to oblique perturbations and generation of rogue waves in finite water depth
We present a laboratory experiment in a large directional wave basin to discuss the instability of a plane wave to oblique side band perturbations in finite water depth. Experimental observations,
Oceanic Rogue Waves
Oceanic rogue waves are surface gravity waves whose wave heights are much larger than expected for the sea state. The common operational definition requires them to be at least twice as large as the