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Severe erosion on U.S. West Coast during 2015–16 El Niño

Barnard, P.L., Hoover, D., Hubbard, D.M., Snyder, A., Ludka, B.C., Allan, J., Kaminsky, G.M., Ruggiero, P., Gallien, T.W., Gabel, L. and McCandless, D. In press. Extreme oceanographic forcing and coastal response due to the 2015–2016 El Niño. Nature Communications, 8. DOI:10.1038/ncomms14365

According to U.S. Geological Survey scientists and colleagues, the El Niño event from 2015-2016 was one of the most powerful of the last 145 years. Researchers investigated 29 beaches that spanned from southern California to Washington and found that winter erosion reached the highest levels ever recorded. Winter wave energy equaled or exceeded the measured historical maxima across the US West Coast and shorelines retreated beyond previously measured landward extremes in many areas. Researchers highlight that when planners assess coastal hazard vulnerability, it is important to consider the impacts of extreme El Niño events at different spatial and temporal scales.