The projected upsurge of severe El Niño and La Niña events will cause an increase in storm events leading to extreme coastal flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific Ocean, according to a multi-agency study published recently in Nature Geoscience.
“This study significantly advances the scientific knowledge of the impacts of El Niño and La Niña,” said Patrick Barnard, USGS coastal geologist and the lead author of the study. “Understanding the effects of severe storms fueled by El Niño or La Niña helps coastal managers prepare communities for the expected erosion and flooding associated with this climate cycle.”
New research data, from 48 beaches across three continents and five countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, suggest the predicted increase will exacerbate coastal erosion irrespective of sea level rise affecting the region.
Researchers from 13 different institutions, including the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the University of Waikato (New Zealand) analyzed coastal data from across the Pacific Ocean basin from 1979 to 2012.
The published paper, “Coastal vulnerability across the Pacific dominated by El Niño/Southern Oscillation” is available online.
source: U.S. Geological Survey