Electric Power Case Study:

Power Systems and Superstorm Sandy on Long Island in 2050 and 2090

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy brought unprecedented floods and destruction to New York, Long Island and its surroundings. Hundreds of thousands of people were without power for several days. A simulation by DNV GL shows that by 2050 and 2090, climate change could give a Sandy-like storm much greater impact on electrical systems.

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Superstorm Sandy in 2012, 2050 and 2090

If Sandy were to strike the Long Island area in 2050 and 2090, it would cause even greater damage to electrical systems, partly because sea levels are expected to be higher by mid and end of the century.

Our analysis and results

DNV GL has performed a hazard analysis to quantify the magnitude and impact of a Sandy-like event in 2050 and 2090 climates, using state-of-the-art climate models. Carried out in collaboration with the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the study involved three steps: simulating the 2050 and 2090 storm, assessing the storm surge and calculating the extent of flooding.   For the 2050 and 2090 simulation, we included an increase of 0.45 metres and 0.90 metres in mean sea level, respectively, in accordance with IPCC estimates. Along some areas of Long Island coast, high water levels reached around 7 metres and 9 metres above Mean Lower Low Water in the 2050 and 2090, respectively. This in comparison with about 4.5 metres measured for the 2012 storm. The simulated surge heights were used to calculate the inland flooding extent.