Southern Oscillation Influences on the Gold Coast's Summer Wave Climate


  • Stuart R Phinn
  • Peter A Hastings


Tropical cyclones, El Niño, Southern Oscillation, coastal management, wave generation area.


Tropical cyclone-generated wave conditions coincident with extreme phases of the Southern Oscillation were examined for Gold Coast (eastern Australia) beaches over the period 1972-1989. The study expands upon similar previous research conducted on Sydney's wave climate. Values of summer (Southern Hemisphere) mean-monthly deepwater wavepower on northern Gold Coast (Australia) beaches were found to be significantly lower during EI Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases of the Southern Oscillation than during the opposing anti-ENSO phases. It is proposed that Southern Oscillation-related variability of Australian/south-west Pacific tropical cyclone activity is an important mechanism underlying the observed contrast. A tropical cyclone wave generation area was constructed for Gold Coast beaches using individual tropical cyclone and site data. Possible coastal management implications of these findings are discussed.