Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate,
and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future
A renowned scientist takes us through the devastating and unprecedented events of Hurricane Sandy, using it to explain our planet’s changing climate, and what we need to do to protect ourselves and our cities for the future.
Was Hurricane Sandy a freak event—or a harbinger of things to come? Was climate change responsible? What connects the spiraling clouds our satellites saw from space, the brackish water that rose up over the city’s seawalls, and the slow simmer of greenhouse gases? Why weren’t we better prepared?
In this fascinating and accessible work of popular science, atmospheric scientist and Columbia University professor Adam Sobel addresses these questions, combining scientific explanation with first-hand experience of the event itself.
He explains the remarkable atmospheric conditions that gave birth to Sandy and determined its path. He gives us insight into the sophisticated science that led to the forecasts of the storm before it hit, as well as an understanding of why our meteorological vocabulary failed our leaders in warning us about this unprecedented storm—part hurricane, part winter-type nor’easter, fully deserving of the title “Superstorm.”
Storm Surge brings together the melting glaciers, the shifting jet streams, and the warming oceans to make clear how our changing climate will make New York and other cities more vulnerable than ever to huge storms—and how we need to think differently about these long-term risks if we hope to mitigate the damage. Engaging, informative, and timely, Sobel’s book provokes us to rethink the future of our climate and how we can better prepare for the storms to come.
“An engaged and engaging examination of ‘what current science allows us to say (or does not) about Sandy’s relation to human-induced climate change.'” (Kirkus)
“Adam Sobel provides a fascinating overview of hurricanes, weather tracking, and climate change … The narrative of Sandy’s events, mixed with a commentary on the science behind it, provides an interesting bird’s eye view in this unique book.” (S. Krishna’s Books)
“The author makes complex subject matter intelligible and intriguing.” (Library Journal)
“It’s a great read covering the meteorology of the event, the preparation, the response and the implications for the future.” (Realclimate.org)
“In this comprehensive volume, [Sobel] looks at the science behind Sandy (and similar weather systems), examining the circumstances leading to it… and factors that made it a superstorm….Topics like these make for interesting, if technical, reading, and Sobel manages to strike an effective balance.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Storm Surge is a masterful account of the science and policy implications of Sandy. …Sobel excels at answering our most burning question: What was that thing?…[and] is able to navigate the complex science behind Sandy’s twists and turns with accessibility, precision and authority.” (Washington Post)