08 Sep 2023
 | 08 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Impacts from Hurricane Sandy on New York City in alternative climate-driven event storylines

Henrique M. D. Goulart, Irene Benito Lazaro, Linda van Garderen, Karin van der Wiel, Dewi Le Bars, Elco Koks, and Bart van den Hurk

Abstract. High impact events like Hurricane Sandy (2012) significantly affect society and decision-making around weather/climate adaptation. Our understanding of the potential effects of such events is limited to their rare historical occurrences. Climate change might alter these events to an extent that current adaptation responses become insufficient. Furthermore, internal climate variability in the current climate might also lead to slightly different events with possible larger societal impacts. Therefore, exploring high impact events under different conditions becomes important for (future) impact assessment. In this study, we create storylines of Sandy to assess compound coastal flooding on critical infrastructure in New York City under different scenarios, including climate change effects (on the storm, and through sea level rise) and internal variability (variations in the storms intensity and location). We find that 1m of sea level rise increases average flood volumes by 4.2 times, while maximised precipitation scenarios (internal variability) lead to a 2.5-fold increase of flood volumes. The maximised precipitation scenarios impact inland critical infrastructure assets with low water levels, while sea level rise impacts fewer coastal assets though with high water levels. The diversity in hazards and impacts demonstrates the importance of building a set of relevant scenarios, including those representing the effects of climate change and internal variability. A modelling framework connecting meteorological conditions to impacts provides relevant and accessible information that can directly be integrated into high impact event assessments.

Henrique M. D. Goulart et al.

Status: open (until 20 Oct 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2032', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Sep 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2032', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Oct 2023 reply

Henrique M. D. Goulart et al.

Henrique M. D. Goulart et al.


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Short summary
We explore how Hurricane Sandy (2012) could affect New York City under different scenarios, including climate change and internal variability. We find that sea level rise can quadruple coastal flood volumes, while changes in Sandy's landfall location can double flood volumes. Our results show the need for diverse scenarios that include climate change and internal variability and for integrating climate information into modelling framework, offering insights for high-impact event assessments.