Press Releases
About Us

Activities | Research | Academics | Information | Connecting | Resources | Public Events

Academics | Seminar Overview | Schedule | Seminar Poster | CCPO Seminar Page

MARI/CCPO Seminar Series

Can we Continue to Live at the Edge of the Sea (with reference to future extreme events and climate change)?

Malcolm J Bowman, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University

Superstorm Sandy made landfall in northern New Jersey on October 29th, 2012. Serious coastal flooding resulted in significant loss of life (~65 casualties) and catastrophic property damage (~$100 billion) for Metropolitan New York, northern New Jersey and coastal Long Island.

The track and intensity of the storm were relatively well-predicted a few days in advance by the National Hurricane Center. But observed flooding during Sandy overran the FEMA-estimated 500-year flood risk contour in some coastal locations, resulting in FEMA's prompt removal of their flooding maps from the Web immediately after Sandy made landfall.

I briefly discuss the skills of the Stony Brook Storm Surge Research Group's suite of numerical models that predict winds, tides, waves, surges and consequential flooding. By varying some key model parameters, including the relative phasing of the winds and the tides, the question of whether Sandy was a worst-case scenario is discussed (it was not!).

My presentation concludes with a discussion of the pathways of "resilience" versus "protection" and how each leads to a very different outcome. The European systems of coastal protection are shown to be vastly superior to anything that is currently proposed for Metropolitan New York and Long Island.