Climate change could affect New Zealand's coastline more harshly than previously thought, according to new research.
The study was carried out by researchers from 13 international institutions, including the University of Waikato, reports Radio New Zealand.
Among its findings, the study concluded that many coastal parts of New Zealand are increasingly feeling the effects of powerful waves and erosion while the La Niña weather cycle is in effect.
"More extreme La Niñas in the 21st century, as projected by recent global climate models, suggest New Zealand could experience more extreme coastal impacts during La Niña events than recently experienced, which would be even more amplified by global sea level rise," said the study's lead author Patrick Barnard.
The study also looked at the effects of El Niño on coastal regions in the Northern Hemisphere.
"Understanding the effects of severe storms fuelled by El Niño or La Niña helps coastal managers prepare communities for the expected erosion and flooding associated with this climate cycle," said Dr Barnard.
The study look at data from 48 beaches bordering the Pacific Ocean between 1979 and 2012.