Half of world's coastlines to face altered wave conditions due to climate change: report

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-20 19:18:27|Editor: ZX
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SYDNEY, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Around half of the world's coastlines will face changes to wave height, shape and direction if current climate change trajectory continues, Australian research has revealed on Tuesday.

A team of scientists led by Australia's Griffith University have used roughly 150 model simulations to predict changes to "wave climate" by the end of the century.

"Under a business-as-usual future climate scenario, we found agreement in the projected future changes in wave heights, lengths and/or directions along 50 percent of the world's coasts," lead author Joao Morim from Griffith University said.

The research showed that roughly five percent of the world's coast will experience an increase in wave size, while around 15 percent is expected to experience a decrease in wave size -- both of which will have the effect of changing coastal geography.

Some areas will experience changes in wave frequency and length which can see waves extending further up beaches and increasing the risk of wave-driven flooding.

A predicted 20 percent of coastline will see waves travelling in a slightly altered direction, with potentially significant consequences for coastal or offshore infrastructure.

While each of these factors can individually have significant effects, the research suggests that up to 40 percent of the world's coastline will see simultaneous changes in wave height, frequency and direction.

"This is the first time there has been a compilation and reanalysis of the existing wave climate projections to identify two components: the agreement among the different projections, and where there is agreement, what changes should we expect to see," co-author Doctor Nick Cartwright said.

"Where there's agreement among the models and what the extent of the change is, looking at different parameters such as wave height and direction in the offshore wave climate -- that is critical information in terms of what might happen at the coastline."