Global weirding – or just warming – and you

The other night, I watched the BBC’s Global Weirding series. The term ‘global weirding’ looks like an attempt to sex-up ‘global warming’ and possibly make it less politically controversial. But it seems a pretty semantic difference, given that climate scientists have been saying for decades that the weather will get more extreme and less predictable, as well as warmer. My experience bears this out – while Spring is springing earlier every year and we’re in an amazing record-breaking heat wave at the moment, we also had a very harsh winter in 2010/11.

The programme was more useful for nailing the myth that global warming is the sole result of solar flares and that us humans have had no impact.

What are the impacts of global weirding for us surfers? I’ve used the UK’s latest projections to work out that by the end of this century, the sea level will probably have risen since 1990 by around 70cm – 88cm (depending on whether global carbon emissions stay on their current path or not). In 2030 this could be between 19cm and 24cm and it will mean that the best breaks around here will stop working or work for shorter periods of time.

The ‘global weirding’ effects of climate change also include higher waves and higher winds. More hurricanes may give us more long range swell. The Environment Agency’s advice for flood risk agencies indicates that the annual maximum wave height change could be between -1.5m and +1m, in other words uncertain (although revised projections may become available).

So we may end up having to rely on the bigger, more extreme (or ‘weird’) swells to get any rideable waves.

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