New modelling reveals how climate change could alter height of New Zealand's waves

New modelling has revealed climate change is set to alter the heights of New Zealand's waves.

The waves are not just getting bigger - in fact, some parts of the country will get smaller waves.

For beachgoers, there's nothing better than getting out on the waves in Muriwai.

"It's spectacular," one beachgoer told Newshub.

Another said: "The west coast always has big heavy rough waves."

The waves could get even gnarlier with new modelling between 2026 to 2045 showing wave height could increase by 5 percent along the South Island's west coast.

By the end of the century, the country's entire west coast could increase by up to 10 percent.

However, waves on the east coast could decrease by up to 20 percent.

This is bad news for popular east coast destinations including Whangamata Beach, which is known for its surfing.

One person said: "It's a bit of a bummer."

"As a surfer, I'm pretty gutted," another said.

"The wind tends to circulate around the planet with a specific pattern and global warming will change this pattern moving them southwards," coastal oceanographer Joao Albuquerque said.

"This will change the characteristics of the waves."

While the reality of these bigger waves may seem far away, the impact won't only be on surfers and researchers are warning of one implication we should all be concerned about right now - coastal erosion.

"These changes definitely can influence sediment transport around beaches, eventually leading to beach erosion on the west coast," Albuquerque said.

Climate scientist Richard Levy said the west coast is gravely underprepared for that.

"We've designed our coastal defences for today's conditions, but climate change will shift those conditions, so there are parts of the country where we are going to have to change our defences."

To prepare for big changes on the horizon for both of New Zealand's coasts.