Earth Institute experts weigh in as the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches.
What was behind perhaps the worst natural disaster to hit the Northeast seaboard in recent history? How likely is it that we'll see more superstorms in the future? How could we have been better prepared? The science and the lessons of Hurricane Sandy, through the eyes of researchers at the Earth Institute.
Earth Institute scientists across many disciplines are playing key roles in helping New York move forward following Hurricane Sandy. Many were already advising the city about the potential effects of sea-level rise, storm surge, climate change and related issues before the storm hit, For better or worse, their predictions were vindicated, and they now continue efforts to help make infrastructure and population more resilient and sustainable.
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Columbia University convened a forum featuring faculty researchers from The Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Mailman School of Public Health, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of International and Public Affairs. This university-wide conversation, co-sponsored by The Earth Institute, Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, and World Leaders Forum, brought together just a few of the many Columbia researchers whose interdisciplinary work is adding to our understanding of the risks facing coastal communities, including New York City and its suburbs.
The impact of climate change on New York City could be even more severe than previously thought, putting more people at risk from increasingly frequent floods and heat waves, according to a report by the New York City Panel on Climate Change that was released Monday.
Last October, Superstorm Sandy provoked widespread frustration and fear after it left more than 7.5 million people in the New York Metro area without power. In the hardest hit areas, outages lasted two weeks or more. These failures led many observers to wonder if America’s aging electrical grid was up to dealing with emerging climate and other challenges.
Cynthia Rosenzweig of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies talks about the work of the New York State Ready Commission, set up after Hurricane Sandy to study how the state can better prepare for natural disasters.
On Wednesday, February 20, M.S. in Sustainability Management (MSSM) alum Julia Ragragio-Ruiz (’12) joined fellow urban planning professionals Albert Wei of Kohn Pederson Fox, and Lance Jay Brown, of Lance Jay Brown Architecture and Urban Design, at GreenHomeNYC’s monthly Greenbuilding forum. The event, entitled “Building in Flood Zones” discussed Sandy relief efforts and the work being done now in order to improve the city’s ability to withstand another similar weather event.
As shocking as the coastal devastation caused by Mega-Storm Sandy was, the prolonged electrical blackouts in the region were much more troubling. They never should have happened, and if any did, power should have been restored sooner.
In a live webcast this afternoon from Hunter College, Earth Institute scientists Cynthia Rosenzweig and Klaus Jacob will join a panel on “Hurricane Sandy and Challenges to the NY Metropolitan Region.”
“It is often said that generals always prepare to fight the last war. We need to be sure that we do not just prepare for the last disaster, and put all of our limited resources in guarding against that one, without thinking about the other things that could happen.”