Environmental Science Division (EVS)a Division of Argonne National Laboratory
Predictive environmental understanding

Innovative models predict effects of climate change on nor'easters

October 22, 2021

William Pringle, an EVS coastal and geophysical scientist, led an Argonne research team that models nor'easters. Technically known as extratropical cyclones, the storms affect the Northeast United States from Massachusetts to North Carolina, and from November to March, producing storm tides and surges that can cause serious flooding.

The team wanted to determine whether climate change would play a significant role in the evolution of these storms and the surges that they might generate over the next several decades. Research results could help cities and regions along the East coast develop strategies for limiting damage caused by associated events.

“We found a decrease in extreme coastal sea levels that occur on average every 1-3 years during the cool season months, in many parts of the Northeast,” said Pringle. “But in the upper parts of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay regions, we found an increase in strong inland tracking storms causing higher water levels that could cause more damage along that part of the coast.”

The study, published in the journal Earth's Future, was a follow-up study of work conducted for AT&T to understand changes to winter and summer storms all across the U.S. Argonne climate modeling expertise and supercomputing resources helped the telecommunications giant develop a tool to help project the impacts of climate change on its infrastructure.

Read the full article by John Spizzirri.

An extratropical cyclone, or nor’easter, blankets the East Coast of the United States. Argonne researchers are trying to predict their future frequency and intensity in light of climate change.
An extratropical cyclone, or nor’easter, blankets the East Coast of the United States. Argonne researchers are trying to predict their future frequency and intensity in light of climate change. [Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service]
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portrait of William Pringle
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