Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future

Adam Sobel. Harper Wave, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-230476-6
Hurricane Sandy hit metropolitan New York hard in October 2012, knocking out power while ruining homes and businesses; it turned parts of Manhattan into swampland, flooded subway stations and transit tunnels, and devastated much of the Jersey shore. Though the damage it caused is irrefutable, the cause of the hurricane itself, says Columbia University atmospheric scientist Sobel, is up for debate. In this comprehensive volume, he looks at the science behind Sandy (and similar weather systems), examining the circumstances leading to it—"the left turn it took" in the ocean in "a radical departure from all known meteorological history"—and factors that made it a superstorm. How did it complete "its transition from a tropical cyclone to a mammoth hybrid"? Sobel diligently re-creates a timeline, from the early warnings issued by the National Hurricane Center to government evacuation orders to the impact Sandy had once it made landfall. Along the way, he provides substantial background information on what, exactly, a hurricane is and how the Fujiwhara effect—named for Japanese meteorologist Sakuhei Fujiwhara—applies to dueling vortices. Topics like these make for interesting, if technical, reading, and Sobel manages to strike an effective balance. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/13/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-230478-0
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