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Pacific Ocean: The world’s tallest waves are getting taller

Pacific Ocean: The world’s tallest waves are getting taller

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The frigid Southern Ocean is well known for its brutal storms, which can sink ships and trigger coastal flooding on distant tropical islands. Now, a new study suggests the biggest waves there – already the world’s largest – are getting bigger, thanks to faster winds attributed to climate change. Peter Ruggiero, a geophysicist at Oregon State University in Corvallis who was not involved in the study, calls the increase “substantial,” and says he is particularly concerned by evidence that the tallest waves are gaining height at the fastest rate. “If [those waves hit] at high tide, it could be potentially catastrophic.” For the past 33 years, global satellites have been collecting data on ocean waves – and the winds that drive them. By bouncing energy pulses off wave crests and measuring the time those pulses take to come back, instruments called altimeters aboard satellites can measure wave height – the taller the waves, the faster the signal returns. Other satellite instruments…
Source: Pacific Ocean: The world’s tallest waves are getting taller

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