Contrary to most doomsday visions, climate change will probably make for smaller waves and calmer seas

Popular Science | 6/14/2018 | Staff
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The spot where the southern parts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans meet is home to a belt of westerly winds projected to expand southwards as the atmosphere and oceans warm up. More winds means taller waves, leading to potential erosion, loss of marine habitat, and human and property damage.

Predicting how waves might act later is just part of Hemer’s challenging job. Wave science combines everything from climatology to engineering in an attempt to figure out how the heck waves work. It’s more complicated than you might think, because waves aren’t just ephemeral: They’re really hard to measure.

Challenges - Hemer - Understatement - Scientist - Studies

“They have their challenges,” says Hemer. That’s a characteristic understatement from a scientist who studies the disconcerting phenomena his discipline has charmingly dubbed “extreme waves.”

Your average ocean wave doesn’t start its life as a deadly wall of water. Instead, it begins as a ripple created by the friction between ocean and sky. Some ripples eventually crest, bursting into a wave. As the energy that powers the wave moves through the water, the surface rises and falls. When helped along by stormy weather, extreme waves, like a 78-foot-wave that recently became the tallest ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, can form.

Scientists - Catch

But for scientists, there’s a catch....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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