What made Superstorm Sandy different?
In late October 2012, Sandy originated as a typical hurricane in the Caribbean Sea. The turbulent storm churned northward along the Eastern Seaboard, where it collided with a cold front and grew immensely, with a gale-force wind field more than 1,150 miles in diameter. As it merged with the cold-weather system, the trough of low pressure pulled the hybrid “Frankenstorm” sharply westward, straight into the densely populated mid-Atlantic coast.
Will New Jersey experience more storms like Sandy?
To many, Superstorm Sandy was an unprecedented and rare storm that was the result of a combination of unique weather conditions. However, the unfortunate reality is that there likely will be more and more novel extreme weather events, like torrential rains experienced in the summer of 2021, in New Jersey’s future as we continue to experience the effects of climate change. Even with aggressive emissions reductions, the impacts of climate change and their secondary effects will worsen in the years ahead due to the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
Multiple scientific studies, collected in the New Jersey Scientific Report on Climate Change and including the New Jersey 2021 Rainfall Studies, show that temperatures are increasing, sea levels are rising, and extreme weather is becoming more frequent and intense. Combating climate change will require parallel efforts to curb emissions and build resilience into New Jersey’s natural and built environments.
Temperatures are climbing
- Average annual temperatures in New Jersey have increased by 3.5° F since 1895
- Historically unprecedented warming is projected for the 21st century, with average annual temperatures in New Jersey increasing by 4.1° F to 5.7° F by 2050.
Sea-level rise is accelerating
- It is extremely likely Atlantic City will experience “sunny day flooding” 95 days a year, with a 50% chance that it will experience 355 days a year, by 2100 (under a moderate emission scenario)
- Sea level is expected to increase between 3.3 and 5.1 feet by the end of the century under a moderate emission scenario.
Extreme Precipitation is increasing
- Precipitation is already 2.5% to 10% higher. The precipitation expectations that presently guide state policy, planning and development criteria, and which rely upon data obtained through 1999, do not accurately reflect current precipitation intensity conditions. Extreme precipitation amounts are 2.5% higher now than the 1999 data suggests, and some parts of the state have seen a 10% increase above the outdated data.
- Precipitation is likely to increase by more than 20% from the 1999 baseline by 2100, and projected changes will be greater in the northern part of the state than in the southern and coastal areas, with projections for some northwestern counties seeing the greatest increase, some by as much as 50%.
How climate change affects us1 :
- Increased heat-related illness
- Degraded air quality
- Spread of vector-borne disease
- Storm-related injury and death
- Damage to infrastructure
- Damage to homes and businesses
- Economic disruption
- Potential decrease in agricultural yields
- Greater wildfire risk
- Habitat loss
- More short-term droughts
- Freshwater salinization