Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 728x90

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
Zhik ZKG 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

Count down to Nassau – All-Time Champions - SSL Finals
The fourth edition in Nassau will feature for the first time a full sailing festival, with junior and traditional racing The VIP skippers are invited for their sailing achievements in different classes, and the Star sailors invited are the ones in the top 12 of the 2016 SSL Rankings. Throughout the year, Star Sailors from across the world gather ranking points at events and the top performers make the trip to Nassau for the SSL Finals.
Posted today at 12:03 pm
Didac Costa to take part in Vendee Globe despite lightning damage
Dídac Costa has shown today he is absolutely determined to overcome one more obstacle on his way to the start line. The Spanish sailor Didac Costa has reaffirmed that he will be taking part in the Vendee Globe despite lightning damaging part of his boat’s electronics. His team has called for new sponsors to overcome this latest difficulty. Costa will be the fourth Spanish sailor who has attempted to complete this gruelling race
Posted today at 11:49 am
2016 J70 World Championship - Day 3
Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. The first one was in non-planing conditions Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. The first one was in non-planing conditions of eight - twelve knots and the second had winds of fifteen - twenty knots.
Posted today at 4:44 am
2016 Melges 32 World Championship - Newport nor'easter
There are many attractions that Newport offers for sailors around world, iconic sailing venue with rich sailing history There are many attractions that Newport offers for sailors around the world - an iconic sailing venue with a rich sailing history, great entertainment and of course, world renowned clam chowder. One unique Newport characteristic that greeted Melges 32 competitors on the first day of the 2016 Melges 32 World Championship was front edge of a strong nor'easter that brought 20-27 kt winds
Posted today at 4:07 am
Split personality conditions at Day 3 of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds
Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats that assembled on the Berkeley Circle for third day of racing Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats that assembled on the Berkeley Circle for the third day of racing at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, namely split personality conditions that tested each boat's light- and heavy-air skills, as well as their patience as conditions played tricks on racers and the Race Committee alike.
Posted today at 3:43 am
Groupama Race – The first Caledonians at Home
A beautiful performance for the kiwis on their Eliott 50. Their complete the Groupama Race in four days 10h and 24 min. A beautiful performance for the kiwis on their Eliott 50. Their complete the Groupama Race in four days 10h and 24 min after nearly 300 NM of 'Match Racing' against local sailors.
Posted on 29 Sep
First all-female Extreme Sailing Series™ team to compete in Lisbon
First all-female GC32 team will make its debut at the penultimate event of the year in Lisbon in just one week’s time. The first all-female GC32 team, Thalassa Magenta Racing in partnership with the Magenta Project, will make its debut at the penultimate event of the year in Lisbon in just one week’s time.
Posted on 29 Sep
J70 World Championship – More action shots from Day 2 by Chris Howell
Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted on 29 Sep
J70 World Championship – Day 2 images by Christopher Howell
Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted on 29 Sep
J70 World Championship – Day 2
Three races were held on Berkeley Circle for the 68 international teams competing in the races on Wednesday. The conditions were once again, true San Francisco. The fog was lurking if not covering the race course, the wind had bite, and blew 14-18 knots. There was a big left shift in the last race that caught more than one local off guard.
Posted on 29 Sep