Rogue waves have largely been dispelled as myths, fancy stories of men at sea, and exagerated accounts of life at sea, until recently.
Scientists have recently been able to determine how rogue waves are made and where they are most likely to take place. In the past, they were seen as unpredictable, but now through understanding of ocean currents it is much more easy to predict where and when a rogue wave might be encountered.
The primary specifications for a rouge wave are a combination of wind and sea current. When the water current in an area is flowing strongly in one direction, and strong wind currents flow in the opposite direction, the two collide. When they collide, the wind pushes against the water, forcing the water upwards, creating a higher than usual wave.
When the water current is strong and the wind is severe, the outcome can be huge waves. This type of rogue wave can normally be found off shore.
North of the equator currents bend to the right, south of the equator they bend to the left. This is called the Coriolis effect. Winds, continents and the Coriolis effect make currents flow around the oceans in huge loops called gyres.
During hurricane season around North America, it become obvious using the map above, that there is a stronger liklihood of rogue waves at this time, off the east coast of the U.S. from Hurricanes that formed in the Gulf Of Mexico, and moved north and northeast over the U.S. Water currents are flowing east to west in the Atlantic, and strong winds from tropical storms and hurricanes will be flowing from west to east.
Hurricanes move over North America with a spiral motion. The hurricane as a whole moves west to east ultimately, and the winds flowing out of the hurricane spiral clockwise, or hooking to the east.
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