Big waves off the Oregon Coast have gotten a lot bigger in recent years, according to a new study. Rob Manning has more.
The study finds that average wave heights have increased nearly an inch per year, since the mid-1970s.
But if you look at just the biggest waves, they’ve gotten four inches bigger per year, over that time period.
And that adds up to a ten-foot increase since 1975.
Peter Ruggiero is an Oregon State University coastal engineer who led the study.
Peter Ruggiero: “What this study very clearly shows is that the wave height increases have been significant and real. And we can document, at least over the last thirty years, the influence of waves’ increasing has been more significant than sea level rise.”
Many scientists point to rising sea levels as a growing climate change problem.
Ruggiero says climate change may be a factor in the bigger waves, as well.
OSU scientists are working with state geology officials to update maps of coastal hazards using the new wave height data.