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Journal Article

Economic damages from Hurricane Sandy attributable to sea level rise caused by anthropogenic climate change


Strauss,  Benjamin H.
External Organizations;

Orton,  Philip M.
External Organizations;


Bittermann,  Klaus
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Buchanan,  Maya K.
External Organizations;

Gilford,  Daniel M.
External Organizations;

Kopp,  Robert E.
External Organizations;

Kulp,  Scott
External Organizations;

Massey,  Chris
External Organizations;

Moel,  Hans de
External Organizations;

Vinogradov,  Sergey
External Organizations;

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Strauss, B. H., Orton, P. M., Bittermann, K., Buchanan, M. K., Gilford, D. M., Kopp, R. E., Kulp, S., Massey, C., Moel, H. d., Vinogradov, S. (2021): Economic damages from Hurricane Sandy attributable to sea level rise caused by anthropogenic climate change. - Nature Communications, 12, 2720.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25667
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States, creating widespread coastal flooding and over $60 billion in reported economic damage. The potential influence of climate change on the storm itself has been debated, but sea level rise driven by anthropogenic climate change more clearly contributed to damages. To quantify this effect, here we simulate water levels and damage both as they occurred and as they would have occurred across a range of lower sea levels corresponding to different estimates of attributable sea level rise. We find that approximately $8.1B ($4.7B–$14.0B, 5th–95th percentiles) of Sandy’s damages are attributable to climate-mediated anthropogenic sea level rise, as is extension of the flood area to affect 71 (40–131) thousand additional people. The same general approach demonstrated here may be applied to impact assessments for other past and future coastal storms.