Ocean waves are noticeably getting stronger, courtesy of climate change that shifts the wind patterns.
New research published in Nature suggests that ocean waves are getting more forceful and more dangerous while climate change continues to deliberately warm oceans around the world.
Local wind patterns stimulate upper-ocean waves. These wind patterns are propelled by discrepancies in the temperature between various distinct layers of the air. As greenhouse gases are injected into the atmosphere and warm up the air, specific wind patterns get stronger while others become weak. The accumulated impact on the oceans is mightier winds that produce more forceful waves.
The research discovered that average waves became 0.41% stronger a year since 1948 up to 2008 as determined in kilowatts per meter. The Southern Ocean waves surrounding Antarctica, become stronger every year by nearly 2%.
“This study shows that the global wave power can be a potentially valuable indicator of global warming, similar to carbon dioxide concentration, the global sea level rise, or the global surface atmospheric temperature,” explains Environmental Hydraulics Institute research director at the University of Cantabria in Spain and co-author, Inigo J. Losada.
Losada along with a group of international researchers embarked on figuring out the between the escalation in sea-surface temperature because of global warming over the past few decades including the supply of energy confined in surface waves.
The supply of energy is measured by a metric called wave power. It necessarily estimates the volume of energy shifted from winds merging with the oceans and eventually transformed into wave motion.
Waves that are generated by wind perform a major role in carving coastlines. Aside from constructing bays, headlands, and others, they also have a consequential control in terms of coastal flooding events.
Climate scientists can possibly utilize wave power aside from other areas of climate change like the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.