The Valparaíso Maritime Meteorological Center, belonging to the Navy Meteorological Service (Servimet), set off the alarms. This Monday, through a statement, announced that Chile will witness abnormal swells from Arica to the Gulf of Penas, including the Juan Fernández Archipelago.
The event It will run from today until Saturday and with greater intensity on Wednesday and Thursday, especially at the highest tide times, also known as high tide. It begins just when the World Oceans Day.
The Head of Meteorological Center of the Fifth Region, Lieutenant Commander Gonzalo Concha, points out that “an active frontal system is expected to be manifested in the southern part of the country, generating a great swell which will be projected as swells from the southwest throughout the continental coastline, producing a strong break, overshooting and potential damage to the coastal infrastructure, mainly in bays open to that direction ”.
He adds that for this reason they categorized this event “as a warning of abnormal swells. These swells correspond to special notice number 18 (in 2021) and it is the second categorized like this so far this year ”.
Starting today, the swells will appear from the Gulf of Arauco to the Gulf of Penas, in the same way in the Juan Fernández Archipelago. In both territorial extensions, the event will be until Thursday.
On Wednesday from Arica to Golf de Arauco. From the first, and until Coquimbo, the swells will be until Saturday. Between Coquimbo and the Gulf of Arauco, until Friday.
Attention! A notice of #Surges abnormalities from the Gulf of Penas to Arica, including Juan Fernández Archipelago
Duration: Tuesday 8 to Saturday 12 June
Avoid traveling along the coastline and rocks!
– Chilean Navy (@Armada_Chile) June 7, 2021
The swells have gone on the rise in recent years. Climate change and the El Niño phenomenon, in part, they are largely responsible for this rise.
Raúl Cordero, climatologist at the University of Santiago, points out that in effect, “the number of storm surge warnings has increased significantly in recent years. Statistics from the Navy’s Oceanographic Service show that the number of warnings it has practically doubled in the country ”.
The situation was particularly noticeable in 2016, when there was a record, registering the highest amount of tidal waves in the last 10 years, totaling 56 episodes. In 2015 there had been 45 tidal waves. Previously, in 2013 and 2014, there were 32 ads.
In 2017 the situation dropped to 49, while in 2018 it rose to 59, exceeding what happened in 2016. “Climate change has an influence on the storm surge, not to say in quantity, but in intensity. The increase in swells has been totally exponential As the years go by It has been the year that we have had more storm surge warnings from us ”, said three years ago, the former head of the Valparaíso Meteorological Center, Captain Roberto Díaz.
In 2019, the numbers dropped a bit, reaching 40 swells. In 2020 it amounted to 42.
These types of events should continue to increase in the coming decades as the planet is heating up. “By accelerating the water cycle, climate change increases the formation of storms, which are the ones that ultimately cause the storm surge,” adds Cordero.
Increases in wind speed and wave height
The Navy Meteorological Service reported that, in the last ten years, the Valparaíso Maritime Meteorological Center issued an average of 42 storm surge warnings each year, with a higher occurrence during the months of April and August, with an average of 21 ads.
The maritime authority establishes that one must act with prudence and caution, respect the established safety regulations, avoiding traffic through rocky sectors, do not enter the sea during the storm surge event, and do not carry out nautical and sports activities without proper authorization.
Cordero notes that according to satellite-based measurements, increases in wind speed and wave height have been detected around the world since 1985. “These increases trigger the risk of coastal flooding, especially when high tides and swells coincide. The largest average hikes have been in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. It is estimated that the risk of record storm surges could double until mid-2050 ″.
The phenomenon will occur from the Gulf of Penas to Arica, including Arch. Juan Fernández
⛔It is anticipated damage to coastal infrastructure and floods pic.twitter.com/AjS8aIrSW7
– Meteorological Center (@MetArmada_Valp) June 7, 2021
The swells often cause the closure of ports, which translates into millionaire delays in imports and exports. “In addition, they endanger critical infrastructure that is built at low elevations. Finally, the swells are contributing to the rapid erosion of the beaches, not only in Chile but throughout the world, ”explains Cordero.
World Oceans Day began on December 5, 2008, when the United Nations General Assembly, resolved that as of June 8, 2009 it would be held.
Why June 8? That date was chosen, since the 80% of pollution of the oceans is generated by humans. In total, eight million tons of plastic end up in the sea each year. It affects a million seabirds and more than 100,000 mammals.