Localized coherence of freak waves

Arnida L. Latifah*, E. Van Groesen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    84 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper investigates in detail a possible mechanism of energy convergence leading to freak waves. We give examples of a freak wave as a (weak) pseudo-maximal wave to illustrate the importance of phase coherence. Given a time signal at a certain position, we identify parts of the time signal with successive high amplitudes, so-called group events, that may lead to a freak wave using wavelet transform analysis. The local coherence of the critical group event is measured by its time spreading of the most energetic waves. Four types of signals have been investigated: dispersive focusing, normal sea condition, thunderstorm condition and an experimental irregular wave. In all cases presented in this paper, it is shown that a high correlation exists between the local coherence and the appearance of a freak wave. This makes it plausible that freak waves can be developed by local interactions of waves in a wave group and that the effect of waves that are not in the immediate vicinity is minimal. This indicates that a local coherence mechanism within a wave group can be one mechanism that leads to the appearance of a freak wave.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)341-359
    Number of pages19
    JournalNonlinear processes in geophysics
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2016


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