The world’s oceans are getting stormier, and that spells disaster for coastal regions. According to a new study, over the last 33 years, waves are getting higher and winds are getting faster. But is it linked to climate change?
With both the waves and wind getting stronger, coastal erosion and flooding will become more common in coastal regions. There is not enough evidence at this time to link climate change as the main cause. However, it’s likely that climate played a hand in it.
How Much Stronger Are The Waves And Wind
The researchers utilized 31 different satellites to capture information from multiple oceans. At the end of the research, it was clear the waves were getting higher and the winds were blowing faster.
The Southern Ocean saw the biggest increase. Extreme waves grew by 30 centimeters (11.81 inches), which is a 5% increase. And extreme wind speeds increased by 3 miles per hour, a growth of 8%. The other oceans saw smaller increases.
The researchers have said that while a 5% and 8% increase do not sound like a lot, it is important to realize they are continuing to grow. If trends continue, coastal regions do not have a bright future ahead.
Possible Causes For The Increase
While it is hard to link any specific phenomenon to these findings, scientists do have some theories. For starters, weather phenomenons like El Niño, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation could play a part. These weather patterns could change ocean conditions to facilitate the growth of waves and wind speed.
A possible explanation for the height increase in waves may stem from rising sea levels. As the oceans increase in height, it makes sense for waves to rise with them.
The Southern Ocean is also known as the Antartic Ocean. Antartica has been melting at a rapid pace which could play a part in the more significant increases in this area.
Until further studies are made into this field, the exact cause will remain a mystery. Unfortunately, the increases have been proven.