The influence of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on NSW coastal storm severity was investigated by comparing the yearly mean Southern Oscillation Index, , with the yearly averaged storm severity Ω measured at the NSW coast. It was found that Ω correlates well with , i.e., Ω generally increases with . The probability distributions of storm peak wave height and yearly mean SOI were also studied and were found to follow a Gumbel distribution. A simple linear relationship between extreme wave height and yearly mean SOI was then derived. At the NSW coast or at other coasts with similar wave climates, coastal recession and increased coastal damage may be expected in La Niña years, while beach recovery and reduced coastal threat may be expected in El Niñ o years.
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Vol. 24 • No. sp2