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23 years of data shows wind speeds have increased

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

For surfers who like high waves, time holds promise. Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, collated satellite data of 23 years and found the wind speed over the ocean has increased substantially.

They found that between 1985 and 2008, increased wind speed led to an increased wave height. The average wind speeds over most of the world’s oceans increased by 0.25 per cent per year. In extreme cases it was 0.75 per cent per year. This trend is stronger in the southern hemisphere. Earlier studies to measure wind speed were limited to specific regions.

Though the team has not linked this increase to climate change, it says that temperature change due to climate change affects air pressure, which then affects the winds. The study did not provide any clear understanding of wave height. But at high latitudes, a trend of increasing height was seen. In the paper published in Science, the researchers say the analysis could be used as a variable in climate models. It would also find use in coastal engineering, navigation and studying erosion.

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