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Rogue waves in opposing currents: an experimental study on deterministic and stochastic wave trains

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2015

A. Toffoli
Affiliation:
Centre for Ocean Engineering Science and Technology, Swinburne University of Technology, P.O. Box 218, Hawthorn, 3122 Vic., Australia
T. Waseda
Affiliation:
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8563, Japan
H. Houtani
Affiliation:
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8563, Japan National Maritime Research Institute, Shinkawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-0004, Japan
L. Cavaleri
Affiliation:
Institute of Marine Sciences, Arsenale, Castello 2737/F, 30122 Venice, Italy
D. Greaves
Affiliation:
School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
M. Onorato
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, University of Turin, Via Pietro Giuria 1, 10125 Turin, Italy INFN, Sezione di Torino, Via Pietro Giuria 1, 10125 Turin, Italy
Corresponding

Abstract

Interaction with an opposing current amplifies wave modulation and accelerates nonlinear wave focusing in regular wavepackets. This results in large-amplitude waves, usually known as rogue waves, even if the wave conditions are less prone to extremes. Laboratory experiments in three independent facilities are presented here to assess the role of opposing currents in changing the statistical properties of unidirectional and directional mechanically generated random wavefields. The results demonstrate in a consistent and robust manner that opposing currents induce a sharp and rapid transition from weakly to strongly non-Gaussian properties. This is associated with a substantial increase in the probability of occurrence of rogue waves for unidirectional and directional sea states, for which the occurrence of extreme and rogue waves is normally the least expected.

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© 2015 Cambridge University Press 

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