To create an interactive image to demonstrate the effects of major tropical storms and storm surge in the future, National Geographic magazine turned to RENCI for assistance. Senior Research Scientist Brian Blanton helped the magazine staff interpret data they received from NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers on what Manhattan would look like if a storm the size of Hurricane Sandy hit in 100 years, when sea level could be as much five feet higher than it is now. The info graphic, which appeared online and in a center spread in the print magazine, uses data from the Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) modeling program, which was developed by the National Weather Service to estimate surge heights.
The graphic is part of a feature called “Rising Seas,” which analyzes the potential impacts and dangers of rising sea levels due to climate change. The image gives viewers a visual understanding of this hazard. The surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded many subway tunnels, knocked out lower Manhattan’s power grid, and caused widespread damage of cars and buildings. This postulated future flood would surge farther and deeper into the city, causing even greater damage unless new methods of mitigating surge effects are developed.
Check out the graphic and the full feature story at the National Geographic website.