Research Papers

Rogue Waves: Results of the MaxWave Project

[+] Author and Article Information
W. Rosenthal

 German Aerospace Centre Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany

S. Lehner

 German Aerospace Centre Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germanysusanne.lehner@dlr.de




J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng 130(2), 021006 (Jun 06, 2008) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2918126 History: Received February 12, 2007; Revised December 01, 2007; Published June 06, 2008

Safety of shipping is an ever growing concern. In a summary, Faulkner investigated the causes of shipping casualties (2002, “Shipping Safety: A Matter of Concern  ,” Ingenia, The Royal Academy of Engineering, Marine Matters, pp. 13–20) and concluded that the numbers of unexplained accidents are far too high in comparison to other means of transport. From various sources, including insurers data over 30% of the casualties are due to bad weather (a fact that ships should be able to cope with) and a further 25% remain completely unexplained. The European project MaxWave aimed at investigating ship and platform accidents due to severe weather conditions using different radars and in situ sensors and at suggesting improved design and new safety measures. Heavy sea states and severe weather conditions have caused the loss of more than 200 large cargo vessels within the 20years between 1981 and 2000 (Table 1 in Faulkner). In many cases, single “rogue waves” of abnormal height as well as groups of extreme waves have been reported by crew members of such ships. The European Project MaxWave deals with both theoretical aspects of extreme waves and new techniques to observe these waves using different remote sensing techniques. The final goal is to improve the understanding of the physical processes responsible for the generation of extreme waves and to identify geophysical conditions in which such waves are most likely to occur. Two-dimensional sea surface elevation fields are derived from marine radar and space borne synthetic aperture radar data. Individual wave parameters such as maximum to significant wave height ratios and wave steepness, are derived from the sea surface topography. Several ship and offshore platform accidents are analyzed and the impact on ship and offshore design is discussed. Tank experiments are performed to test the impact of designed extreme waves on ships and offshore structures. This article gives an overview of the different work packages on observation of rogue waves, explanations, and consequences for design.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Waves , Seas , Ships , Radar
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Figure 1

An extreme wave event (white wall); the picture was taken from a merchant vessel in the bay of biscay (© see noaa, picture gallery)

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Figure 2

Record of the Draupner wave, Jan. 1, 1995

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Figure 3

The Wilstar after the encounter of an extreme wave in the Agulhas current

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Figure 4

Route of the Northern Pioneer and WAMOS data takes available

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Figure 5

Marine radar image acquired on the Northern Pioneer on Feb., 27, 2002 in the North Atlantic

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Figure 6

WAMOS image acquired on Ekofisk, showing detected wave groups of high sea state

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Figure 7

Map showing maximum single wave heights Hmax derived from three weeks of ERS-2 SAR data acquired in August–September 1996. High waves occur in the high wind speed areas in the southern hemisphere and the path of the hurricane Fran in the northern Atlantic. The highest wave was measured to be about 28 m and occurred in the South Atlantic in the north of a severe low in a moving fetch situation.

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Figure 8

(a) A SAR wave mode observation of a cross sea on a 5km by 10km SAR image from the Pacific acquired on August 2000 and (b) the respective WAM model 2D wave spectrum showing a 290 m wave system traveling to the northeast and a 200 m swell system traveling to the northwest

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Figure 9

The Ekofisk platform together with the locations of the in situ measurements and a time series of WAMOS images

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Figure 10

Extreme event produced in the Hannover wave tank

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Figure 11

The Bremen after the accident on February 22, 2001, north of the island of South Georgia, in the South Atlantic



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