Australia to Say Goodbye to Big Waves on East Coast Due to Global Warming

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By Reissa Su | March 10, 2014 8:51 PM EST

Australia's gnarly waves in the east coast will soon shrink due to climate change. According to a new research study, current global warming rates indicate a trend of smaller waves in Australia's popular surfing sites. By the end of the century, the waves are predicted to be two-thirds smaller than its current size.

REUTERS/David Gray
Two boys run into the surf as clouds gather above Manly Beach on a hot day in Sydney, November 3, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray

Researcher Andrew Dowdy and his fellow scientists at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology analysed 18 climate models from the present day to determine how global warming affects big waves around the world.

Big waves in the east coast of Australia are caused by western Pacific storms called east coast lows. The storms are influenced by differences in air pressure which researchers found climate models can predict well.

The study revealed all 18 climate models arriving at the same prediction.

CSIRO, Australia's national research organisation based in Hobart, said changes in the waves' height can also affect beaches. Mark Hemer of CSIRO remarked that the amount of sand on a beach depends on the balance between the sand washed in and out by the waves.

According to Mr Hemer, the results of the study may not be generalised in other parts of the world since different weather conditions in specific areas can also drive the waves.

Penny Whetton, a CSIRO climate projection expert, expects the warming to continue in the decades to come and possibly an acceleration of extreme weather. The warming trends increase the risks of fire danger in the country and the dry spell in southern Australia.

The recently released State of the Climate report may be grim for South Australia as more droughts are expected with greater frequency and intensity. The changes in the climate should be considered by farmers.

The worst drought in decades has hit 70 per cent of Queensland and has caused a live export crisis. More regions in the southwest are expected to be affected by the drought in the coming weeks of the summer season.

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(Photo: REUTERS/David Gray / )
Two boys run into the surf as clouds gather above Manly Beach on a hot day in Sydney, November 3, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray
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