In an encouraging development, the researchers have claimed that a recurrence of Superstorm Sandy – which barrelled head-on into the Atlantic coast, swamping New York City and large parts of New Jersey – is less likely to hit the US coasts under climate change.
The scientists predict stronger hurricances and possibly more frequent storms due to the climatic changes but they say changing air patterns will prevent them from hitting US east coast.
The researchers used climate models, based on a tripling of greenhouse gas emissions by 2100, to study whether future atmospheric conditions be more or less likely to blow a storm like Sandy westwards into the Atlantic coast.
They found future air patterns under climate change make a repeat of such a rare event even less likely. Wind and atmospheric conditions, including changes in the jet stream, would be more likely to push major storms further offshore, away from the big population centres along the Atlantic coast, the researchers found.
However the findings were affirmative, the researchers warned the citizens to remain alert.
“It does not mean Americans can afford to be blasé about the risks to coastal areas from hurricanes and tropical storms. You can’t let your guard down,” said Barnes.
The study was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The killer storm made a sharp left turn to slam straight into the Atlantic coast. The odds of a storm like Sandy were already extremely remote – a once in 700 year event – when it hit in October 2012. But it was that trajectory that made Sandy so devastating.
New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, earlier this year outlined a $19.5bn (£12.5bn) plan to protect the city from future Sandy-like catastrophes.