Climate change has long been associated with the rising of the sea level. Researchers now reveal another way the warming temperatures disrupt the world's oceans.
Wave Power And Climate Change
In a study published in Nature on Jan. 14, researchers focused on the energy contained in ocean waves that get transmitted from the wind and transformed into wave motion.
This metric, known as wave power, has been growing in direct association with the warming of the ocean surface. This warming, measured as a rising trend in sea-surface temperatures, has influenced wind patterns around the world, which in turn, make the ocean waves stronger.
Study researcher Borja Reguero, from the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and colleagues reported that global wave power has been increasing.
They said that wave power worldwide rose by 0.4 percent per year since 1948 and this is the average. Some parts of the world experience significantly stronger waves. In many regions of the Southern Ocean, for instance, wave power increased by 2 percent per year.
They also attribute climate change behind more powerful waves because of its direct association to rising upper ocean temperature.
"For the first time, we have identified a global signal of the effect of global warming in wave climate," Reguero said in a statement. "This increase is correlated with the increasing sea-surface temperatures, both globally and by ocean regions."
Impact On Coastal Areas
Knowing how oceanic warming can influence the energy of ocean waves has important implications particularly for coastal communities.
Ocean waves help people decide where to build infrastructures, such as ports and harbors, or set up protection such as breakwater and leeves because wave action is the main driver of coastal change and flooding.
"Understanding how waves change is critical to assess the impacts of climate change at the coast," the researchers wrote in their study.
Global warming poses numerous threats to humanity. Researchers have warned that climate change can lead to an increase in animal bites and diseases such as dengue. They also said that global warming can cause dwarfing in animals and even the decimation of species.