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Climate change is changing our wind patterns, which is strengthening the waves that travel across the surface of the earth.
As climate change has gradually warmed oceans around the world, it has also been making ocean waves stronger and more deadly, according to a new study published in Nature Monday.
The waves of the upper ocean are driven by local wind patterns, which are driven by differences in temperature between the different layers of the air. So as we pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and heat the air, we are also strengthening certain wind patterns and weakening others. The net effect that our oceans are the strongest winds and make the waves stronger.
“We show that the global wave power, which is the transport of energy transferred from the wind to the movement of the sea surface, has increased worldwide,” the authors wrote.
For people working in industries that depend on shipping, such as fishing and global cargo transport, this means that their already dangerous jobs will become even more dangerous over time. Specifically, commercial fishing has a mortality rate 32 times higher than the general working population of the US. UU., And 18 percent of these deaths can be attributed to the waves.
The study found that waves, on average, have strengthened by 0.41 percent each year from 1948 to 2008, measured in kilowatts per meter. This may not seem like much, but consider that this is an average. The waves in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica, have strengthened around 2 percent each year.
It is already incredibly dangerous to travel to Antarctica by sea: heavy-duty icebreakers are required in areas with more sea ice, and an ultra-luxurious tourism trend of cruising to the frozen continent has been growing steadily almost every year.
It is often easier and safer to travel to Antarctica by plane, and we will probably have to rely on that method even more in the future. But that requires building more expensive and destructive clues in the frozen landscape. (China plans to build an aviation track of almost one kilometer for the researchers).
A graph that shows the changes in the power of the waves over time.
2017 was the warmest year recorded in the global oceans, largely because the oceans absorb 90 percent of the additional heat in the atmosphere generated by humans due to our release of greenhouse gases. Oceans also heat more slowly than other global areas, such as forests, deserts or even air. This means that, in general and over time, the oceans have a greater ability to warm up and stay warm for a long time. The ways in which we are altering our oceans will persist for years.
It is worth noting that we are also affecting the ocean in places we can not see. The Atlantic Dump Circulation (AMOC) is a global circulation process that sends cold water to the surface and hot water to the depths of the sea around the world, which helps regulate salt levels throughout the world. Since climate change is heating ocean water everywhere, this process has weakened, putting at risk all ocean creatures specializing in salinity.
The consequences of climate change go far beyond making our world a little warmer each year. As we emit greenhouse gases, we initiate environmental feedback processes to which the ocean is particularly vulnerable.