Increase in sea level brings coastal areas at the forefront of the impact of climate change, but new research shows that they also encounter other climate-related threats. In a study published on January 14 in Nature Communications researchers report that the ocean waves' energy has grown globally, and they found a direct relationship between ocean heating and the rise in wave energy.
A wide range of long-term trends and projections carry fingerprints of climate change, including rising sea levels, rising global temperatures and falling sea ice. Analyzes of the global marine climate have so far shown increases in wind speeds and wave heights in localized areas of the sea in the high latitudes of the two hemispheres. These increases have been greater for the most extreme values (eg, winter waves) than for the average conditions. However, a global signal of change and a correlation between the localized elevations in wave heights and global warming was undiscovered.
The new study focused on the energy contained in ocean waves transmitted from the wind and transformed into the wave motion. This metric, called wave power, has been increasing in direct connection with historical warming of the ocean surface. The upper sea heating, measured as a rising trend in sea surface temperatures, has affected the wind patterns globally, which in turn makes sea waves stronger.
"For the first time, we have identified a global signal on the impact of global warming in wave climates. In fact, wave power has increased globally by 0.4 percent annually since 1
Climate change changes the oceans in different ways, including changes in the ocean atmosphere's circulation and water heating, according to co-author Inigo J Losada, research director at the Department of Environmental Hydraulics at the University of Cantabria (IHCantabria), where the study was developed.
"This study shows that global wave power can be a potential va lubar indicator of global warming, as well as the CO2 concentration, global sea level rise or global surface atmospheric temperature. ", says Losada.
Understanding of how the ocean waves' energy reacts to sea heating has important implications for coastal communities, including anticipating impacts on infrastructure, coastal towns and small island states. Ocean waves determine where people build infrastructure, such as ports and ports, or require protection through coastal defense such as. Waves and sea areas. In fact, wave action is one of the major drivers of coastal change and flooding, and as wave energy rises, its effects can be deeper. The rise in sea level will further exacerbate these effects by allowing more wave energy to reach forward.
While the study reveals a long-term trend of rising wave energy, the effects of this increase are particularly evident in the most energetic storm seasons when occurred during the winter of 2013-14 in the North Atlantic, affecting Europe's west coast or the devastating 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean, which offered a fierce reminder of the devastating power and economic consequences of the coastal storms.
The effects of climate change will be particularly noticeable on the coast where people and oceans meet, according to co-author Fernando J. Méndez, associate professor at the Universidad de Cantabria. "Our results suggest that risk analysis neglects changes in wave power and has sea level, which the only driver can underestimate the consequences of climate change and result in inadequate or error adaptation," he said.
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