Surf’s up – Climate change will alter the height of New Zealand waves


New modeling from the University of Auckland shows how climate change will affect Aotearoa’s surf over time.

Researcher Joao Albuquerque told Breakfast this morning that New Zealand’s east and west coasts would be affected differently.

“Basically what we have found is that global warming is going to cause wave heights to increase along the west coast and wave heights to decrease along the east coast towards the end of the century. “, did he declare.

“It’s going to be caused by changes in the patterns of the winds. The winds, they tend to flow through the atmosphere with a specific pattern, and as the temperature of the globe increases, those patterns are expected to change and shift slightly towards the pole.

“And that will change the characteristics of the waves as well as the characteristics of the wind.”

Albuquerque and his team also found that “climate change could reduce New Zealand wave heights from current levels in autumn and summer and increase wave heights in spring and winter,” a statement said this morning. of the University.

The modeling also predicted changes in wave direction, which could impact coastal erosion.

“People might expect the waves to get bigger with climate change, but the picture is much more complicated,” Albuquerque said.

He told Breakfast that the team looked at two different “time slices.”

“The first would be 2026 to 2045. Over that time frame the changes aren’t that strong, but as we move towards the end of the century – our second time frame that we looked at was 2080 to 2100 – and that’s when the changes become more severe.”


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