Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

Modeling study shows that Hurricane Sandy damages were worsened by climate change

Damage to the New Jersey coast from Hurricane Sandy. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States, creating widespread coastal flooding and over $60 billion in economic damages. A recent modeling study funded by NASA, NOAA, and NSF, with contributions from DOE and the USGS, found that the impacts of Hurricane Sandy were significantly worsened by sea level rise attributable to climate change (Strauss et al., 2021). Researchers simulated water levels and damages both as they occurred and as they would have occurred across a range of lower sea levels, showing that tens of thousands more people were affected, and more than $8 billion in damages from the storm were the result of human-caused sea level rise. This approach can be applied to impact assessments for other past and future coastal storms.