From: University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Published July 21, 2017 03:49 PM

Shifting storms to bring extreme waves, damage to once placid areas

The world’s most extensive study of a major storm front striking the coast has revealed a previously unrecognised danger from climate change: as storm patterns fluctuate, waterfront areas once thought safe are likely to be hammered and damaged as never before.

The study, led by engineers at University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, was published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

“If you have waterfront property or infrastructure that has previously been sheltered from the impacts of extreme waves, this is worrying news” said Mitchell Harley, lead author and a senior research associate at UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory (WRL). “What this study confirms, is that simply by changing direction, storms can be many times more devastating. And that’s what we’re facing in many locations as the climate continues to change.”

Ian Turner, director of WRL and a co-author, said sea level rise was no longer the only factor at play when preparing for the impact of climate change on waterfront areas. “Shifts in storm patterns and wave direction will also have major consequences because they distort and amplify the natural variability of coastal patterns.”

Read more at University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Image: The June 2016 'superstorm' that battered eastern Australia caused widespread damage to homes and infrastructure, including these homes in Sydney's Collaroy Beach.  Credit: UNSW

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