Oceanic rogue waves are surface gravity waves whose wave heights are much larger than expected for the sea state. The common operational definition requires them to be at least twice as large as the significant wave height. In most circumstances, the properties of rogue waves and their probability of occurrence appear to be consistent with second-order random-wave theory. There are exceptions, although it is unclear whether these represent measurement errors or statistical flukes, or are caused by physical mechanisms not covered by the model. A clear deviation from second-order theory occurs in numerical simulations and wave-tank experiments, in which a higher frequency of occurrence of rogue waves is found in long-crested waves owing to a nonlinear instability.

Keyword(s): extremefreakphysicsstatistics

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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