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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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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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