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Extreme oceanographic forcing and coastal response due to the 2015-2016 El Nino

TitleExtreme oceanographic forcing and coastal response due to the 2015-2016 El Nino
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBarnard P.L, Hoover D., Hubbard D.M, Snyder A., Ludka B.C, Allan J., Kaminsky G.M, Ruggiero P., Gallien T.W, Gabel L., McCandless D., Weiner H.M, Cohn N., Anderson D.L, Serafin K.A
JournalNature Communications
Date Published2017/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2041-1723
Accession NumberWOS:000393857700001
Keywordscalifornia drought; eastern pacific; events; littoral cell; north pacific; ocean; precipitation; southern-oscillation; variability; wave climate

The El Nino-Southern Oscillation is the dominant mode of interannual climate variability across the Pacific Ocean basin, with influence on the global climate. The two end members of the cycle, El Nino and La Nina, force anomalous oceanographic conditions and coastal response along the Pacific margin, exposing many heavily populated regions to increased coastal flooding and erosion hazards. However, a quantitative record of coastal impacts is spatially limited and temporally restricted to only the most recent events. Here we report on the oceanographic forcing and coastal response of the 2015-2016 El Nino, one of the strongest of the last 145 years. We show that winter wave energy equalled or exceeded measured historical maxima across the US West Coast, corresponding to anomalously large beach erosion across the region. Shorelines in many areas retreated beyond previously measured landward extremes, particularly along the sediment-starved California coast.

Short TitleNat. Commun.
Student Publication: