For the simulation, researchers used sea level data taken from the Battery in New York City and other locations near the Mid-Atlantic coast. In the new study, researchers at Princeton and Rutgers estimated that NY is likely to see 20 to 40 inches of sea level rise by the end of the century. The potential for stronger storms and rising seas mean Sandy-level flooding could could occur once every 23 years as opposed to once every 400.
Scientists have tried to discover the cause of these damages provoked by Hurricane Sandy.
Making a definitive prediction of how Sandy-like flood events could change in future is hard, but the benefits for protecting coastal cities are considerable, says Dr Andra Garner (née Reed), from Rutgers University, who authored a similar study a year ago.
Kopp and his team have forecasted that storms like Hurricane Sandy will be four times more frequent, concerning the uncontrolled gas emissions which harm the ozone layer and the shifting patterns of the winds.
Sandy devastated the northeastern US coast in 2012, including coastal areas of New York City, killing more than 120 people and causing some $70 billion of property damage.
In this new study, scientists from Rutgers University in New Jersey collected data based on historical tidal gauge records of New York City dating as far back to 1856.
"Something like that periodically hitting the coastline, it would result in incredible engineering projects, up and down the USA seaboard, to protect society", Horton told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.
"Sea levels will rise in the 21st century because we're increasing our atmospheric temperatures, which are causing our oceans to expand and our ice sheets to melt", he said.
The study is based on a combination of historical data and computer model projections.
Ning Lin, the lead author on the Princeton study and an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, says, "To effectively prepare for future hurricanes, we need to know what coastal cities will be facing in the coming decades, but past models have not accounted for all of the significant dynamic factors involved in predicting surge floods". Most importantly, global climate models are not created to provide exact estimates of the weather in any given location or in any given year.
Hurricane Sandy, then and now. The flooding in New York City which was caused by Hurricane Sandy is believed to be extremely rare, with an estimated return period of more or less 1000 years.
The researchers found that the frequency of a Sandy-like flood increased around threefold between 1800 and 2000. Sea levels have spiked since 2000, and as a result floods are predicted to become more frequent even without any super storms like Sandy.
When the twentieth century came, experts measured a boost in the increase of the sea level, changing from 1.5 to 3 millimeters per year because of human-made climate change. "The extent of sea-level rise will change from place to place - it depends on continental features".
"Your mitigation measures are only as good as your predictions of the threat you're trying to mitigate", said Lin. The hurricane also took a massive financial toll, with damages reaching up to more than $71 billion.
The regularity is set to increase, from once every 400 years to once every 90 years, largely due to the rising sea levels.
Benjamin Horton of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.