AI’s 700-Year Data Dive Predicts Monster Waves at Sea

By Sunil Sonkar
2 Min Read
AI's 700-Year Data Dive Predicts Monster Waves at Sea

Scientists from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Victoria have used artificial intelligence (AI) to predict monstrous waves at sea. These big waves were once thought to be myths, scaring sailors for ages as they can break ships and damage oil rigs. Scientists used AI to study 700 years of wave data—more than a billion waves—to figure out when and how these waves might happen at sea. This discovery is important because it can make sea travel safer.

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Scientists started taking rogue waves seriously when a massive 26-meter-high one hit the Norwegian oil platform Draupner in 1995. This was the first time scientists measured a rogue wave, proving they really exist. Since then, scientists have been studying and trying to predict these massive waves, which can be twice as tall as normal ones and even go over 20 meters high.

The researchers used a big set of data that included info about how the ocean moves, the state of the sea, water depths and bathymetric details. The key part was using wave data from buoys in 158 places around the U.S. and overseas. This gave a complete picture of wave height and sea conditions for 700 years. The AI made a smart tool by using lots of data, helping predict the chance of running into rogue waves at sea.

Contrary to previous beliefs that rogue waves were primarily caused by the brief combination of two waves stealing each other’s energy, the study identified “linear superposition” as the dominant factor in their materialization. This phenomenon, known since the 1700s, occurs when two wave systems cross each other and briefly reinforce one another.

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