A new study from UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher emeritus Peter Bromirski uses nearly a century of data to show that the average heights of winter waves along the California coast have increased as climate change has heated up the planet.
The study, published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, achieved its extraordinarily long time series by using seismic records dating back to 1931 to infer wave height, a unique but accepted method first developed by Bromirski in 1999. The results, made more robust by their 90 years of statistical power, join a growing body of research that suggests storm activity in the North Pacific Ocean has increased under climate change.
If global warming accelerates, growing winter wave heights could have significant implications for flooding and erosion along California’s coast, which is already threatened by accelerating sea-level rise.
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