Last updated September 29, 2021

Hurricane Sandy 2012

United States

Hurricane Sandy illustrated several different ways in which climate change can increase storm damage. Primarily, sea level rise increases the reach of storm surge, a warmer atmosphere can hold and dump more precipitation, and warmer sea surface temperatures increase the maximum potential intensity of the storm. The storm was the second most costly US hurricane on record, after Katrina, and caused 159 deaths. Sandy was fueled by sea surface temperatures 5.4°F above average and veered into New Jersey and New York atop sea levels elevated by global warming.

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An aerial view shows destroyed homes Oct. 31 after Hurricane Sandy came ashore in Seaside Heights, N.J. Recovery efforts after the widespread devastation and destruction caused by the super storm could be among the most expensive in United States history. Sandy has claimed at least 40 lives in the United States as of Oct. 31 and one death in Canada. Photo: Steve Nesius, CNS photo, Reuters)
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Global Warming
Sea Surface Temperature Increase
Air Mass Temperature Increase
Intense Atlantic Hurricane Frequency Increase
Glacier and Ice Sheet Melt
Thermal Expansion of the Ocean
Atmospheric Moisture Increase
Storm Surge Increase
Sea Level Rise
Extreme Precipitation Increase
Large Scale Global Circulation Change
Coastal Flooding Increase
Runoff and Flood Risk Increase
Wind Damage Risk Increase
Tropical Cyclone Steering Change
Hurricane Sandy 2012