An Analysis of North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones and Their Impacts on Coastal Inundation in New York and New Jersey during the Last Millennium
Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:35 AM
In a changing climate, future inundation of the United States Atlantic and Gulf coasts will depend on the combined effect of storm surges during tropical cyclones and the rising sea levels on which those surges occur. The observational record of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin is too short (AD 1851-present) to allow for accurate assessment of long-term trends in storm activity. In order to overcome the limitations of the short observational record of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, we downscaled four CMIP5 models to generate synthetic tropical cyclone data sets for the Atlantic basin that span from AD 850 to AD 2005. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines these tropical cyclone simulations with storm surge models and local proxy sea-level reconstructions of the last two millennia, we provide insight into the connections between climate change, sea-level rise, tropical cyclones, and coastal flooding events like Hurricane Sandy of 2012. We present a comparison of pre-anthropogenic era (before AD 1800) and anthropogenic era (since AD 1800) storm surge model results from the New York/New Jersey region, exposing links between increased rates of sea-level rise and storm surge heights. An analysis of the characteristics and metrics of the tropical cyclones that create storm surges in this region is also performed. Results of this work will be a step towards improved scientific prediction of coastal inundation as a result of sea-level rise and tropical cyclones in our changing climate.