American Society of Civil Engineers

Advances in Understanding Sea-Level Variability around New Zealand

by Robert G. Bell, (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), PO Box 11-115, Hamilton, New Zealand. E-mail:, Derek G. Goring, (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), PO Box 8602, Christchurch, New Zealand.), and Roy A. Walters, (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), PO Box 8602, Christchurch, New Zealand.)
Section: Part II Long Period Waves, Storm Surges, and Wave Groups, pp. 1490-1500, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Coastal Engineering 2000
Abstract: Recent modelling of tides over a large tract of the SW Pacific has provided improved knowledge of the trapped tidal wave around New Zealand. An amphidrome in the semidiurnal solar tide (S2) off the east coast produces a marked contrast in spring-neap tides between east and west coasts. The interannual and decadal variability in sea level around New Zealand (up to a range of 0.2 m) confirms that the Pacific-wide ENSO system and the effect of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) are not confined to tropical and sub-tropical, latitudes, but are clearly, but not simply, linked to the southern mid-latitude region straddled by New Zealand. The confounding behaviour of interannual and decadal variability and its non-stationary link with ENSO effects masks the ongoing global sea-level rise. Further advances are now possible with the completion of networks of open-coast sea-level gauges in Australia, Pacific Islands and New Zealand, complemented with satellite altimetry and robust tidal models.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Sea level
Tidal currents
New Zealand
Coastal processes