Larger, Stronger Ocean Waves Are Shown by New Data

Since 1970, waves have been growing larger and more powerful, according to an ocean researcher at the University of California, San Diego. Additionally, there are more “big wave events” than in the past. A large wave is at least four meters tall. In his research, Peter Bromirski of the university’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography examined seismic recordings dating back to 1931. Measuring the strength of earthquakes is frequently done using seismic data. However, Bromirski noted that powerful waves produce enough energy for seismographs to record. Big waves break back and meet fresh waves when they reach the beach. Seismographs can detect the energy released by the collision as it passes through the ocean floor.

With the help of those measurements, Bromirski was able to determine the size and power of waves over a ninety-year period. According to Bromirski, he “stumbled upon” the seismographic data. He claimed that it was “nearly impossible” to compare waves from the past and present before the discovery. The process of assembling the data was laborious. There was a lot of information on paper. In order to analyze the data, Bromirski and his group of student researchers had to input the information into a computer. Years passed throughout the sluggish procedure.

It was discovered that during 1970, there has been an approximate 30 centimeter increase in the height of most winter waves along the California coast. Waves taller than four meters also began to occur more frequently after that year. Large waves occurred twice as frequently between 1996 and 2016 as they did between 1949 and 1969. The Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans has published a study conducted by Bromirski and his colleagues. Scientists estimate that the planet’s warming started to accelerate in 1970. Ocean waves are growing stronger and taller due to climate change, according to Bromirski’s new findings. This implies that they have a higher chance of causing harm to the shore, roads, and buildings like homes and piers.

 

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