The energy in ocean waves has been increasing, which means higher and longer waves that are more destructive. The surface of the ocean is warming, which leads to stronger winds and more powerful waves.
That, in turn, of course means increased coastal erosion — a problem for those of us at Waikawa Beach. We know all this because of research into wind and waves around the world:
…analysis of the global marine climate has scientists looking at increases in wind speed and wave height as yet another indicator of climate change. This previously undetected signal of global warming is most prevalent in The Southern Oceans – the world’s most energetic basins, the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a seasonality, as winter waves tend to be larger than the average.
So, as we think about our coast, and our relationship with it, we need to be mindful not only of rising sea levels, but of more destructive storms.