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how can i become a wave watcher?

Ready to join the global community of Wave Watchers? Scan the QR code to access the survey! 

what are wave watchers?

 Wave Watchers are surfers from around the world who have joined forces as a global ocean monitoring community. Wave Watchers share their memories about environmental change at their favorite spots through our survey tool.  They describe changes in the surf conditions, contamination levels, and ocean life over time. These data then become available for climate scientists and researchers. 

why are wave watchers needed?

Climate scientists can't be everywhere. Many of the places that offer the most informative data about climate change are too difficult for climate scientists to access for monitoring on a regular basis. This leads to problematic gaps in climate data. This citizen climate science program collects important data about how the oceans are changing in places that are hard for scientists to reach, but home to thriving surf communities. 

Another problem facing climate scientists is referred to as shifting baseline syndrome. This means that because scientists have only recently started collecting climate data in some places, present conditions might seem like the norm when in fact, they are not. This is important because measuring change is a key part of climate science.  What was must be compared to what is. Wave Watchers help address this challenge because long time surfers can offer historical perspectives on changes that they have witnessed over many years of surfing the same locations. 

Do memories count as scientific data?

There are many kinds of knowledge that can tell the story of change. While climate scientists offer a perspective informed by conventional science, surfers offer a perspective informed by experiential, bodily, process-oriented knowledge and memory. Surfers are wave watchers by nature. Surfers regularly monitor tides, currents, swell, water temp, etc. This wealth of knowledge is shaped over time through constant application, often passed down through generations of surfers about specific locations. For these reasons, the knowledge that surfers possess is a crucial part of understanding climate change. When combined with conventional climate science, we can achieve a much more in-depth understanding of how the oceans are changing....and why it matters. 


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