Study finds wind speeds on the rise › News in Science (ABC Science)
speeds and wave heights over the world's oceans have been steadily increasing for the last quarter of a century, a new long-term study shows. The researchers at Swinburne University of Technology
in Melbourne say the trend could also have an effect on the transfer of energy between the sea and the atmosphere - one of the great unknowns in climate change calculations.
The study, published today in Science Express
online, uses 23 years of satellite
altimeter data taken from 1985 to 2008 to show that wind
speeds over the oceans have been steadily increasing.
The areas which show increased wind speeds in the study also show increased wave heights.
Professor Ian Young, the lead author on the paper, says the study shows that the largest increases are happening in extreme conditions.
"Extreme wind speeds have increased over most of the globe by approximately 10 per cent over the last 20 years, or 0.5 per cent every year," he says.
"Extreme wave heights have increased by an average of seven per cent over the last 20 years."
"Off the southern coast of Australia
, the highest one percent of waves has increased in height from approximately five meters to almost six meters."