12 April 2011

Wind Speeds Increasing On World’s Oceans, Study Says

Ukiyo-e coloured woodcut by Hokusai
Ukiyo-e coloured woodcut by Hokusai
Yale Environment 360 reports on a new study in the journal Science,Global Trends in Wind Speed and Wave Height," suggests that wind speeds and wave heights have been rising. What does this mean for storms?

"Average wind speeds and wave heights have been rising on the world’s oceans over the last quarter century, a trend that could portend more intense storms, hurricanes, and cyclones, according to a new study. Using satellite altimeter data from 1985 to 2008, Australian researchers calculated that wind speeds increased 0.25 to 0.5 percent per year, and overall had increased 5 to 10 percent during that time.

"The most pronounced increases were observed during extreme wind events — in comparison with mean conditions — which increased about 0.75 percent annually, according to the study, published in the journal Science. Ian Young, a professor at the Australian National University at Canberra and lead author of the study, said it is unclear whether it is a temporary phenomenon or the result of global climate change, although he added, 'If we have oceans that are warming, that energy could feed storms, which increase wind speeds and wave heights.'" 
Read the study here (subscription or purchase required): Wind & Waves.

Enhanced by Zemanta