With a major Nor’easter battering the US East Coast with winds at 90mph/145kph this past week, Argonne National Laboratories has announced the development of new models that can predict the effect climate change will have on such storms this winter season.
Interestingly, the models predicted that generally, they would be more moderate storms on states facing the Atlantic. However, some states further north faced greater intensity as the storms headed inland.
According to Argonne coastal and geophysical scientist William Pringle:
“Overall, we did see some evidence of a slight decrease for counties on the open Atlantic Ocean versus an increase in those counties further up in the big estuaries, like Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay, where the storms are tracking further inland. We found a decrease in extreme coastal sea levels that occur on average every 1-3 years during the cool season months, in many parts of the Northeast. But in the upper parts of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay regions, we found an increase in strong inland tracking storms causing higher water levels that could cause more damage along that part of the coast.”
The discovery was part of a research effort led by Pringle into these storms to determine whether climate change would play a significant role in their evolution, with the hope of enabling the northeast to better cope with their effects. One of the key aspects of this study is that it was modeled at an incredibly high resolution to give very accurate results.
According to Rao Kotamarthi, one of Argonne’s leading climate modeling experts:
“This is also the first time that we have used a high-resolution climate model plus a high-resolution coastal flood model to do these calculations. Our climate calculations run at a resolution of 12 km, which then drives the coastal model at a very high resolution of 50 meters.”
Read the full study.