May 26, 2024

Columbus Post

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Kreuzsee: That’s why square waves are so dangerous


CrussyIf you see square waves, get out of the water immediately

A rare natural phenomenon known as Lake Grass is mesmerizing. However, it can be life-threatening for swimmers.

Jonas Bucher
  • On rare occasions, some coastal areas form impressive square wave patterns called cross seas.

  • This phenomenon is caused by wave systems overlapping each other from different directions, often due to changes in wind or current.

  • Kreuzsee represents a great danger for swimmers because it requires great strength and endurance and makes orientation very difficult.

In some parts of the coast, interesting but dangerous square wave patterns can be seen on rare occasions, providing a wonderful subject for photographers. But for swimmers and sailors, this natural phenomenon known as Kreuzsee poses a serious danger.

A cross sea occurs when wave systems from different directions collide. This often happens when the wind changes or when the waves face currents that turn them back. Instead of running parallel to the waves, transverse crests and troughs form suddenly. Such conditions can occur especially on beaches with complex current conditions or where ocean currents meet.

Danger to swimmers

A cross sea is especially treacherous for swimmers. Constantly adapting to changing tides and currents requires great strength and endurance.

Currents make it very difficult to maintain a steady swimming rhythm or follow a clear direction. Swimmers may leave the course very easily or have difficulty returning to shore. Additionally, there is a risk of being pulled underwater by suction.

Shipping Risks

This situation quickly becomes dangerous for ships. Small and medium-sized vessels are particularly vulnerable as they are easily caught and overturned by sudden high waves.

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In areas where this phenomenon occurs, special precautions are required. Modern technologies such as satellite weather reports and wave radar systems are critical for early detection of cross-lakes and appropriate conservation measures.

These are known hotspots

The most famous of these areas are Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, where the Atlantic Pacific and extreme weather prevail, and the Bay of Biscay between Spain and France, known for its strong winds and currents from different directions. .

Also affected is the Agulhas Current near the southern tip of Africa, where the warm Indian Ocean Current meets the cold waters of the Atlantic, causing strong turbulence. The waters around the British Isles and the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica are also known for violent storms and collisions of various ocean currents, which regularly cause cross-lakes.

The North Sea is an area known for experiencing cross lakes under certain conditions. This occurs especially in areas where strong winds and ocean currents come together.

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