The Living on Earth Almanac
Air Date: Week of January 23, 1998
This week, facts about...rogue waves.
CURWOOD: Fifty-six years ago the Queen Mary, pressed into wartime transport service, was nearly capsized off Scotland by what her captain called "one freak mountainous wave." Scientists call them "rogue waves." Sailors call them "non-negotiable waves." And they are thought to be responsible for the more than 40 big ships that are lost at sea each year. A rogue wave happens when many small waves get in step with each other and pile up to form one giant wave, often more than 70 feet tall. By comparison most ocean waves are under 12 feet. The other big difference with rogue waves is their unpredictability. Unlike tidal waves or tsunamis, which need a trigger, say an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, rogue waves can occur with little or no warning. While scientists don't know for sure what causes the waves, some areas of the globe see them more often. For example, the Cape of Good Hope off South Africa is notorious for titanic waves. But obtaining reliable data is difficult. After all, the biggest rogue waves tend to silence their only observers. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth