The connection between storms such as Sandy and global climate change including Arctic sea ice loss continues to be a matter of active research, though there is currently no strong evidence for appreciable linkages.

No significant increase in Atlantic hurricanes since the late 1880s has been observed. Nor have the number of hurricanes that make U.S. landfall significantly increased or decreased. In the future, it is likely that global frequencies of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially the same as a result of projected greenhouse gas induced climate change, though rainfall rates related to such storms are likely to increase.

There is low scientific confidence that overall storminess has changed; however, it is likely that there has been a human-induced increase in coastal extreme sea level events due to overall sea level rise. Near Sandy’s landfall, sea level has risen over one foot since the mid-19 Century, mostly (but not solely) due to the increase in volume of the ocean attributable to its warming resulting from climate change. It is very likely that further sea level rise will contribute to increased coastal high water levels in the future, conditions that are exacerbated along the eastern seaboard by tropical cyclones and Nor’easters.


# NOAA's State of the Science Fact Sheet: " Atlantic Hurricanes, Climate Variability and Global Warming" (May 2012)

  1. IPCC, 2012: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker,?D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, 582 pp.