20 Sep 2022
20 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Freak wave events in 2005–2021: statistics and analysis of favourable wave and wind conditions

Ekaterina Didenkulova1, Ira Didenkulova2, and Igor Medvedev3 Ekaterina Didenkulova et al.
  • 1HSE University, Nizhny Novgorod, 603155, Russia
  • 2University of Oslo, Oslo, 0316, Norway
  • 3Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS, Moscow, 117997, Russia

Abstract. Freak or rogue waves are unexpectedly large waves in seas and oceans, which occur without specific reasons, and cause human loss, damage of ships, oil platforms, and coastal structures. Evidences of such waves are widely spread around the globe. The present paper is devoted to analysis of the unified collection of freak wave events from different chronicles and catalogues from 2005 to 2021. The considered rogue waves are not measured in situ data, but their descriptions, which have been found in the mass media sources and scientific articles. All of them resulted in ship or coastal/offshore structure damage and/or human losses. The collection accounts for 429 events. First, the analysis based on their characteristics taken from the descriptions of the events (including locations, water depth, damages) is carried out. Second, the analysis of wave parameters taken from the climate reanalysis ERA5 is performed. Thus, the most probable background wave parameters in time of freak event (including wind speed, gusts, significant wave height, maximum wave height, peak wave period, skewness, and kurtosis) for each freak wave event are determined.

Ekaterina Didenkulova et al.

Status: open (until 15 Nov 2022)

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Ekaterina Didenkulova et al.

Data sets

Database of freak waves in 2005-2021 Ekaterina Didenkulova, Ira Didenkulova, Irina Nikolkina

Ekaterina Didenkulova et al.


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Short summary
The paper is dedicated to freak wave accidents which happened in the World Ocean in 2005–2021 and were described in mass media sources. The database accounts for 429 events, all of which resulted in ship or coastal/offshore structure damage and/or human losses. In correspondence to each freak wave event we put background wave and wind parameters extracted from the climate reanalysis ERA5. We analyze their statistics and discuss the favorable conditions of freak wave occurrence.