CBC gets super pedantic about big waves in California

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation offers this delightfully pedantic critique of US newscasters calling California's big waves "rogue."

The waves were very big last week in California. Some waves were so large they created a lot of havoc and damage. Media reports on the waves were made even more dramatic by misclassifying one such big wave as "rogue." Luckily, the CBC's Lauren Bird is here to educate us all about what a "rogue" wave is, why they are dangerous, and why what we saw on that video of folks getting pushed around by some mush is not a "rogue" wave.

Rogue waves (also known as freak wavesmonster wavesepisodic waveskiller wavesextreme waves, and abnormal waves) are unusually large, unpredictable, and suddenly appearing surface waves that can be extremely dangerous to ships and isolated structures such as lighthouses.[1] They are distinct from tsunamis, which are often almost unnoticeable in deep waters and are caused by the displacement of water due to other phenomena (such as earthquakes). A rogue wave at the shore is sometimes called a sneaker wave.[2]

In oceanography, rogue waves are more precisely defined as waves whose height is more than twice the significant wave height (Hs or SWH), itself defined as the mean of the largest third of waves in a wave record. Rogue waves seem not to have a single distinct cause but occur where physical factors such as high winds and strong currents cause waves to merge to create a single exceptionally large wave.[1] A study based on AI prediction methods suggested a different possible cause, the authors identifying "linear superposition" as the main contributing factor.[3]