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Global Warming Spurring Ocean Waves Speed

Global warming is speeding up ocean waves, a new study by Canadian researchers from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, has found.

Geophysicists predict that as the ocean surface warms, these so-called planetary waves should speed up.

To test this theory, John Fyfe and Oleg Saenko modelled the changes to ocean wave patterns over the 20th and 21st centuries.

They found that gigantic ocean waves, spanning hundreds of kilometres from crest to crest, had speeded as a result of global warming.

"We were really surprised at how quickly the ocean responded to temperature change," said Fyfe.

The model further showed that by the end of the 21st century, the waves would be a further 20 to 40 per cent faster compared with pre-industrial speeds.

"We knew we'd see an effect, but we didn't think it would be significant for at least another two centuries," said Fyfe, adding that the faster planetary waves will have an effect on global weather.

The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reports New Scientist.


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