Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Wave Heights Will Wane From Climate Change

    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Trip Van Noppen:
The Earth Needs YOU This Election Season

After the summer we have had, my mind is on climate change, what more Earthjustice can do about it, and what’s at stake in this election. I exp...

by Jessica Knoblauch:
Stormy Waters: Earthjustice’s Steve Roady on Oceans

Intro: This is the first in a series of Q and As on Earthjustice’s oceans work, which works to prevent habitat loss and overfishing, as well as ...

by Trip Van Noppen:

(The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.) We are ...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Elijio Arreguin's blog posts
04 April 2013, 11:49 AM
Study predicts a decrease in the size of surf
Photo courtesy of Dunedin NZ (Flickr)

“Surf’s up!”

These two words have sparked countless scenes of surfers worldwide frantically gathering boards, leashes and friends in excited rushes to the ocean in the hopes of catching a few big waves. However, a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, "Projected changes in wave climate from a multi-model ensemble", indicates that climate change may threaten the frequency of such scenes.

Researchers’ findings project that while only 7.1 percent of the world’s ocean area will experience an increase in average wave heights, almost 26 percent will actually experience a decrease in the size of surf.

Of course, the world of surfing won’t stop spinning if average wave heights decrease. While big-wave chargers may lament the prospect of a decrease in opportunities to chase big swells, many surfers are content to enjoy smaller waves. Beyond the world of surfing, this study brings to mind two points that are important to remember when considering climate change: the varied nature of its effects and the importance of personal impact in motivating efforts to fight it.

Climate change has a connotation of doom and destruction in popular culture, bringing to mind images of blazing wildfires, torrential rains and surging tsunamis—but not all the effects of climate change will fit the apocalyptic narrative. As the title suggests, it will lead to changes rather than strictly increases in weather patterns. This is important to remember when observing its effects. This report indicates that climate change may be lapping at our shores rather than surging over our beaches and into our streets.

As yet, the effects of climate change are, on a day-to-day basis, largely invisible to the average person. Without active monitoring, the gradual effects may continue unnoticed until they reach a boiling point. The scientific community has agreed that even if we introduce immediate and significant reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases, the global temperature will continue to rise by at least another two degrees Fahrenheit.

Connecting the effects of climate change to people’s daily activities would work wonders in attracting them to the movement to slow it. People are more likely to address an issue that they experience in some manner. While wanting to ride bigger waves may be a less noble reason for fighting climate change than, say, preserving the Earth for future generations, it may strike a chord with some surfers that more abstract, long-term notions do not.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.