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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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ScienceShot: Unraveling the Secrets of Rogue Waves
18 June 2010 2:54 pm
They're the stuff of sea captains' nightmares—giant waves barreling in seemingly from out of nowhere to capsize or swamp even the largest vessels or offshore drilling platforms. What creates these elusive monsters? In a new paper to be published in Physical Review Letters, researchers use a computer model to simulate a rogue wave's birth and propagation. Two or more small waves, driven forward by strong currents, and at the same time resisted by powerful headwinds, suddenly combine and amplify their height into a single, giant wave. Once formed, the wave structure stabilizes itself and concentrates its energy in one direction. That enables it to travel many kilometers before breaking up, typically when either the driving currents or headwinds subside. Along the way, anyone unfortunate enough to be sitting in the wave's path is bound to remember the experience.
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