Ocean water is getting warmer, and warmer water means less radical waves. Due to climate change, waves are going to shrink over 25 percent of the world (or as much as 38.5 percent in the winter months), including in a lot of popular surfing areas. Yeah. It’s pretty sad.
Climate scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia have been studying the impact of climate change on waves. Other people have studied sea level, temperature, and chemical makeup of the ocean, but waves have kind of been ignored. This is unfortunate, because not only do they affect surfing and all kinds of recreation, they can also erode the coastline. According to lead author Mark Hemer, “Waves are dominant drivers of coastal change in these sandy environments, and variability and change in the characteristics of surface ocean waves (sea and swell) can far exceed the influences of sea-level rise in [sandy beach] environments.”
And so, while this is bad news for surfers, it’s also bad news for a lot of creatures that can’t even say the words “that’s effin schwag.” Meanwhile, if you really need to hang ten, there’s one place where waves will be higher: the ocean surrounding Antarctica. Get yourself a really, really good wetsuit.