Monday, February 11, 2013

Climate change could impact wave height

Dyna Rochmyaningsih in Average wave size will increase in many parts of the southern hemisphere over the twenty-first century, but decrease in the north, according to an international study on the impact of climate change on oceanic activity.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change last month (13 January), predicts a wave height increase of between 20 and 30 centimetres in an area covering at least seven per cent of the surface of the world's oceans. This is due to the poleward intensification of the westerly winds in the southern hemisphere, resulting from climate change.

But the scientists also predict a drop in wave height across a quarter of the area of the world's oceans, particularly in the northern hemisphere, with potentially far-reaching impacts.

"The decreased wave height in the northern oceans is good news for the fishing industry there because the sea will be calmer," says Nobuhito Mori, associate professor at Kyoto University, Japan, and the study's co-author.

But the opposite may happen for fisheries in the South, as bigger waves may make conditions more difficult, Mori says. He warns that the seaweed industry may also be affected, as higher waves are disruptive for seaweed and prevent the plants from settling.... 

"Ocean waves," Hokusai

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