In Brief

Climate Change Could Shrink Australia's Killer Waves

surfer rides a wav
A surfer rides a big wave. (Image credit: Barry Tuck |

Totally bogus, man. Climate change could quell the biggest waves on Australia's east coast, a new study suggests.

Australia's monster swells are typically caused by storms in the Pacific known in Australia as east coast lows, which are driven by air pressure differentials. By the end of the century, climate change will change those pressure differentials such that Aussies can expect to see a third fewer killer waves, according to a study that published Mar. 9 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Fewer big waves could also change the shape of beaches, as waves determine how much sand the ocean carries onto, and off of, the beach, Mark Hemer from CSIRO, Australia's national research organization in Hobart, told New Scientist.  

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Tia Ghose
Managing Editor

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.