‘Surf’s up’ from seismic noise

Global warming is intensifying cyclonic storm systems, the energy retained by the greenhouse effect being redistributed to winds and in turn to ocean waves, which even have a small effect on local gravitational potential. The effects become coupled to the solid Earth and appear as the background ‘noise’ in seismograms. So historic seismograms, both digital and in paper form, potentially supply a proxy for climate change going back as far as the 1930s when seismographic stations first began to be set up. In some instances the records are continuous, and when digitised form a unique record that integrates, but one yet to be exploited fully (Bromirski, P.D. 2009. Earth vibrations. Science, v. 324, p. 1026-1027.

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