Surf’s Down, With Climate Change

According to Curt Storlazzi, a surfer and a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who studies coastlines, climate change will likely cause ever-larger storms, and more epic swells, but that doesn’t take into account the varied effects of climate change on surfing, reports Sam Kornell at the Pacific Standard. The periods between those swells will lengthen: surfers may get to enjoy a week of all-time surf, but that might be followed by a month or more of excruciating flatness. “Climate change makes extremes more extreme,” Storlazzi said, and “Sea level rise is going to change where waves break,” he added. Waves that break at sand-bottomed surf spots are likely to not change. But waves that break over inflexible cobblestone or coral reef, for example, could change significantly. These breaks are often better at low tide, and as sea levels rise, Storlazzi said, it is reasonable to assume that they will be good less often. The right conditions for good surfing will become increasingly rare, noted David Revell, a  professional hydrologist. For the foreseeable future, both say the overall effect of rising seas is likely to be more destructive than constructive for surfing.

Duuude: Climate change could wipe out surfing. Storms driven by climate change change are causing bigger swells — which makes surfers happy. But what makes surfers worry is sea level rise. Even a foot change in the tide line can mean the difference between great and mediocre waves say geologists who study coastlines. Pacific Standard


About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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