Draupner wave - The single measurement that changed oceanography

The story of the Draupner wave is well known.

In the area, the SWH was about 12 m (39 ft), so the Draupner wave was more than twice as tall and steep as its neighbors, with characteristics that fell outside any known wave model. The wave caused enormous interest in the scientific community.

Has anything similar ever happened in science before? Mariners had experienced and reported rouge waves but these reports were dismissed by scientist. A single measurement overturned everything.

This BBC transcript that I’ve never seen before came up with a search

From that article:

According to all scientific knowledge of the sea freak waves are practically impossible. Scientists have understood ocean waves for centuries. They are simply made by the wind. The stronger the wind and the longer it blows the bigger the waves. In order to predict the biggest wave a ship will meet scientists use a set of mathematical equations called the Linear Model. This says that in any sea condition there is a limit to how big the largest wave will be and that mariners tales of monster waves that come out of nowhere have got to be wrong.

The transcript also mentions the loss of the MĂĽnchen and the encounter the Queen Elizabeth 2 with a rouge wave.

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The part about using quantum physics doesn’t hold up. Here’s what the script says:

AL OSBORNE: The Schrödinger equation, quantum mechanics, we have TV programmes called Quantum Leap and so on and so forth so we all think we know something about that equation. There’s a version, however, modified, that describes deep water waves.

Apparently the connections to quantum physics is that some versions of the Schrödinger equation are used.

From ChatGPT:

In the context of modeling rogue waves in oceanography, it is specifically the Non-Linear Schrödinger Equation (NLSE) that is being referenced. The NLSE is a variant of the Schrödinger equation from quantum mechanics, adapted for use in classical wave dynamics, particularly to model the behavior of waves in non-linear media like ocean water.

Sounds plausible.