Russian hydrophysicists determined giant waves frequency in northern seas

Russian hydrophysicists determined giant waves frequency in northern seas

July 18, 2023

The study is of great importance for assessing the risks of maritime activities in the Arctic.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Specialists of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Marine Hydrophysical Institute conducted a study that will help determine the frequency of giant waves occurrence. The data obtained, according to them, can be used in the offshore structures design and planning work in the Arctic seas.

The study was a continuation of the Marine Hydrophysical Institute’s developments in 2019, when a simple universal model was created to predict the waves height under the cyclones action.

“We improved and tested this model, including for polar conditions. We have received new patterns that were not previously taken into account”, the Arctic portal quotes one of the work authors, a senior researcher at the Department of Remote Investigation Methods of the MHI RAS, Maria Yurovskaya.

Studying the likelihood of high waves, scientists used satellite data and statistical analysis. The work took into account various parameters of these giant atmospheric vortices: the maximum wind speed, life expectancy, diameter, speed of movement and direction of propagation.

As a result, hydrophysicists managed to find out that waves with a height of more than four meters can occur up to six times a year, more than eight meters – two or three times a year, more than ten – once a year, a height of 12 meters – once every few years. And the highest waves, reaching 15 meters in height, are less common than once a decade.

The authors of the work also identified the areas most affected by polar cyclones. This is the southern part of the Barents Sea and the northeastern part of the Norwegian Sea. The study is of great importance for assessing possible environmental damage, the risks of maritime activities in the Arctic, the operation of transport and engineering structures, including oil and gas platforms.

Previously, for the first time, researchers studied the plume structure of Siberian rivers before ice formation. Also, scientists from the Arctic Floating University are studying the influence of space on satellites in high latitudes in the Barents Sea.

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Text: Elena Popova, Photo: Denis Kozhevnikov

July 18, 2023

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