Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Wind and waves growing across the globe

by Swinburne University of Technology on 26 Mar 2011
Bernard Stamm (Cheminees Poujoulat), fights to for survival in a Force 10 storm in mountainous seas the Bay of Biscay, the day after the start of the VELUX 5 Oceans solo round the world yacht race. onEdition © http://www.onEdition.com
Oceanic wind speeds and wave heights have increased significantly over the last quarter of a century according to a major new study undertaken by Australian researchers.

The results of the research program – the most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken – have been published today in the prestigious journal Science.

Studies of climate change typically consider measurements or predictions of temperature over extended periods of time. However this study examined global changes of oceanic wind speed and wave height, which are also important environmental indicators.

It was authored by former Swinburne University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young, who earlier this month became Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University and Swinburne oceanographers Professor Alex Babanin and Dr Stefan Zieger.

'Winds and waves control the flux of energy from the atmosphere to the ocean,' Professor Young said. 'So an understanding of whether their parameters are changing on a global scale is very important.'

In conducting the study, the researchers analysed satellite data over a 23 year period from 1985 to 2008.

'We found a general global trend of increasing values of wind speed and, to a lesser degree, wave height over this period. The rate of increase for extreme events was most significant.'

The data showed that wind speeds over the majority of the world’s oceans increased by 0.25 to 0.5 per cent every year. For extremely high winds, speed increased by a yearly average of 0.75 per cent.

The global increase in wave height was most significant for extreme waves, with the largest one per cent increasing by an average of 0.5 per cent every year. However in some parts of the ocean, extreme waves increased by up to one per cent per annum.

'For example, today the average height of the top one per cent of waves off south-west Australia’s coastline is around six metres. That’s over one metre higher than in 1985,' Professor Babanin said.

According to Professor Young it was the researchers’ access to satellite data that enabled them to conduct such a comprehensive study.

'Previous attempts to investigate global trends in oceanic wind speed and wave height have relied on visual observations, point measurements or numerical modeling. Due to these limitations, researchers have only been able to examine changes to wind speed and wave height on a regional basis.

'However our study used recently developed satellite altimeter data sets, which enabled us to investigate trends on a global scale. This has really given us a much clearer picture of what is happening in the world’s oceans.'

The study was funded under an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, with sponsorship from MetOcean Swinburne University of Technology Website
Southern Spars - 100Zhik Yachting 660x82InSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Nevin Snow wins the 50th Governor's Cup
Nevin Snow and his team were victorious this year, defeating Sam Gilmour and his team from the Royal Freshwater Bay Club Nevin Snow and his team from San Diego Yacht Club were victorious this year, defeating Sam Gilmour and his team from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Each had defeated their opponent in the final four.
Posted today at 4:42 pm
Comanche - On board report - 175nm ahead of trans-Atlantic record pace
Comanche is currently 1?76? miles ahead of the record (correct at 09.45 BST) Sunday July 24, 2016 Update from Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's supermaxi Comanche on Sunday 24th July, 2016 as she chases the Trans-Atlantic monohull record Comanche is currently 1?76? miles ahead of the record (correct at 09.45 BST). Visit the Yellow Brick tracker for latest position updates
Posted today at 12:10 pm
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge - Race 13 arrivals complete
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time As Visit Seattle, PSP Logistics and Da Nang – Viet Nam celebrated their podium finishes in race 13, the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following the arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time this evening.
Posted today at 7:48 am
Vic-Maui Yacht Race - Kraken one, Darby no score
In real race, not artificial ones that sailboats make up between themselves, Kraken beat Mother Nature’s child – Darby 2016 Vic-Maui Yacht Race - In a real race, not the artificial ones that sailboats make up between themselves, Kraken has beat Mother Nature’s child – Darby. Mark and Annette Malacek’s Beneteau First 40.7 from West Vancouver Yacht Club crossed the finish line around 1:45 pm local time. It was great relief to the many family and fans that greeted Kraken's arrival.
Posted today at 7:20 am
Pacific Cup - Friday finishers action-shots by Lauren Easley
Photographer Lauren Easley was in air at 2016 Pacific Cup and provided this gallery of images from Friday action. Photographer Lauren Easley was in air at finish of the Pacific Cup raced from San Francisco to Honolulu and provided this gallery of images from Friday action.
Posted today at 6:38 am
France Blue, Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup favourite?
Calling form on Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is hard, as for team to be successful all three of its boats must perform Calling form on the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is hard, as for a team to be successful, all three of its boats must perform. This, plus the event's week-long duration and diverse race format, make the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial championship for Corinthian crews one of the pinnacle racing events internationally held under a rating rule.
Posted today at 5:24 am
ORC Worlds - Three new ORC World Champions crowned in Copenhagen
A light southerly arose just in time to get one last race in for all three classes on concluding day of 2016 ORC Worlds 2016 ORC Worlds - After an initial delay this morning due to no wind that threatened to keep everyone ashore like yesterday, a light southerly arose just in time to get one last race in for all three classes on the concluding day of the 2016 ORC World Championship, hosted by the Royal Danish YC and Egaa Sailing Club.
Posted today at 4:45 am
Transat Québec Saint-Malo – Class40s sail into Saint-Malo
Twelve of the nineteen Class40s racing in the ninth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo 2016 Transat Québec Saint-Malo - Twelve of the nineteen Class40s racing in the ninth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo presented in collaboration with the City of Lévis are now safely moored at the Quai Duguay-Trouin wharf in Saint-Malo at the foot of the ramparts as the sun prepares to go down over the Corsair City.
Posted today at 3:09 am
America's Cup World Series Portsmouth – Standing room only.
There are no half measures where English weather is concerned. There are no half measures where English weather is concerned. Happily, that means that when it’s good it very, very good. Blue skies, sunshine, 23 deg C, clean air, and the whole place looks as if has put on a party frock and got lit up. Wonderful.
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – More Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from the first day of racing Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from the first day of racing
Posted on 23 Jul