Analyzing winter storm risk and resilience in a changing climate

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 06:02 in Earth & Climate

The northeastern United States, marked by dense population centers and extensive infrastructure, is at particular risk for both physical and economic effects of climate hazards, including sea level rise and extreme weather events. While we tend to think of extreme weather largely in terms of tropical cyclones like Superstorm Sandy, the Northeast is also prone to extratropical cyclones – winter storms – the effects of which are understudied despite costing millions of dollars in damages every year and having the potential for increased risks as the climate changes. "The costs of a winter storm are often less severe than those of a hurricane, but they occur more frequently and over time their compounding impacts can result in high damages because you'll see several events through the season," explains Cari Shimkus, program manager at the Earth Institute's Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development and lead author of a new paper examining hazards and damages resulting from winter storms in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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