The study says the waves along the California coast are getting bigger

“What this shows is that in addition to flood risks that are exacerbated by sea level rise, they can also be exacerbated by the fact that waves are increasing,” said Patrick Barnard, a geologist with the USGS. “This is a factor we have to take into account, as we plan to create communities that are resilient to rising – not only sea levels but also rising levels during storms.”

Ian Young, a professor of oceanography at the University of Melbourne, Australia, said Dr Bromirski’s conclusions were consistent with previous research that used satellite data from the 1980s to study wave heights, and helped show that changes were occurring over a long period of time. longer period. “There is clearly a long-term trend,” he said.

Those changes were evident early this year, when one atmospheric river after another hit the West Coast. The severe weather caused damage to homes in Santa Cruz, California, due to flooding and winds. Several months later, a landslide caused homes in one of the affluent neighborhoods of Los Angeles County to collapse into a ravine. And when it comes to waves, a flash flood can overwhelm coastal areas, destroy infrastructure and contribute to soil erosion.

Even professional surfers worry: bigger isn’t always better.

“If the waves are huge, but it’s stormy and choppy, surfers can’t ride those waves,” Tyler Fox, a big surfer in Santa Cruz, said of ocean conditions that can include many small waves. Rough the surface of the water.

Mr Fox, 42, has been surfing for more than three decades and said there are some spots where, at high tide, it is no longer possible to enter the water. Elsewhere, he added, parts of the cliff have broken off into the water, creating new hazards. He added that violent storms can also hurl debris from trees, homes and other damaged buildings into the ocean, “basically to my shelter, which is a place I love.”

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