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William V. Sweet
and
Chris Zervas

Abstract

Climatologies of sea level anomalies (>0.05 m) and daily-mean storm surges (>0.3 m) are presented for the 1960–2010 cool seasons (October–April) along the East Coast of the United States at Boston, Massachusetts; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Sewells Point (Norfolk), Virginia; and Charleston, South Carolina. The high sea level anomaly and the number of storm surges, among the highest in the last half century during the 2009/10 cool season, are comparable during strong El Niño cool seasons. High numbers of daily storm surges occur in response to numerous East Coast extratropical cool-season storms and have a positive correlation with the El Niño phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Patterns of anomalously high sea levels are attributed to El Niño–related changes to atmospheric pressure over the Gulf of Mexico and eastern Canada and to the wind field over the Northeast U.S. continental shelf.

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