Everything you want to know about square waves...and why are square waves dangerous?

2023-11-08 2023-11-08T21:38:58Z
طقس العرب
طقس العرب
فريق تحرير طقس العرب

Arabia Weather - The seas pose specific risks for people who swim in them, and among these risks, square waves are one of them. This phenomenon is often invisible on the surface of the sea, as it occurs at the bottom of the sea. It is usually not a problem unless it originates at the surface. But if it occurs on the surface, it can be very dangerous and pose a major threat to safety and life.

What are square waves?

Square waves, also known as “crossing seas,” are a phenomenon that occurs when ocean currents collide with each other at high speed and with great force. In the marine environment, these waves resemble a checkerboard, appearing to draw lines on the surface of the water.

These phenomena usually occur in the deep ocean, making them rare and usually not a threat. However, when this phenomenon occurs on the surface of the sea, it can cause serious problems and even be life-threatening. This type of wave can be commonly found on the island of Ile de Ré in France, where crossing ocean currents usually occurs. These marine phenomena are characterized by waves colliding with the water and forming it into squares.

This phenomenon is fairly rare and may form and fade within minutes. The formation of these waves depends on the weather patterns in the area, which causes the waves to form at different angles. When these waves collide, they form the aforementioned grid pattern.

This type of phenomenon also occurs when winds move waves in one direction while other waves give them movement in the opposite direction. From the point of view of scientists, this phenomenon is seen as an example of the Kadomtsev-Pitvashvili equation. This equation is a partial differential equation that is often used to explain the interactions of weather systems and describes their nonlinear fluctuations.

How are square waves formed?

These waves naturally form an amazing network on the sea surface, resembling a chessboard. These strange and rare waves form when the currents of two deep oceans meet at depths of thousands of meters, and are also affected by other factors such as winds that transport waves over long distances, giving the sea surface an unusual appearance.

As a result of this effect, this distinctive phenomenon is shaped like a diamond or square pattern, making it one of the most exciting and beautiful places in the world. Despite the beauty of square waves, one must be aware of their great danger. It is strongly advised not to swim in these areas.

The danger of square waves

When this phenomenon occurs, its magnificent spectacle attracts thousands of spectators. However, experts warn that these waves are actually water currents and can therefore pose a danger to boats and people in the water.

In the case of Ile de Ré, for example, incidents have been reported where several boats have been stranded by these currents. But these incidents were not limited to this region only, as similar incidents were recorded in other parts of the world due to the “square sea,” prompting the authorities to issue warnings about them.

Accordingly, experts warn of the dangers of this phenomenon and advise avoiding being at sea when it occurs. When weather conditions allow the phenomenon to continue for a longer period, squares can be seen above the sea surface. But caution must be taken as this phenomenon can trap ships. A 2004 study by Toffoli, which collected data from Lloyd's Marine's marine information services between 1995 and 1999, revealed that a large proportion of ship accidents were caused by square waves.

Why should we avoid square waves?

The incidence rates of many ocean vessel accidents change rapidly primarily in ocean crossing conditions or immediately after an ocean crossing, and often occur “as waves and sea breezes approach.”

Simply put, it is not a matter of swimmers and boaters directly risking themselves, but there can be risks of falling into this type of phenomenon. Therefore, lifeguards are advised not to enter the water to avoid this behavior. If you are already in the water, it is best to swim toward shore as soon as possible.

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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