Wavering heights

Written by      

Your favourite summer surf break may fizzle out by the end of the century as a result of climate change, according to new modelling led by University of Auckland scientist João Albuquerque.

Shifting wind patterns will drive slightly bigger west coast waves, while east coast breakers are set to diminish by up to 20 per cent. Seasonal patterns will fluctuate too, with summer and autumn swells smaller than today’s, while winter and spring will see them ramp up.

But it’s not just surf forecasts that will flip-flop: wave directions will shift, too. These altered angles of inundation will impact coastal communities, eroding and flooding different parts of the coast. The projected changes remain subtle up to 2045, but are expected to become “more severe” between 2080 and 2100, Albuquerque says.

More by