What Happened When 549 Imaginary Storms Hit New York

Damage following Hurricane Sandy, in Queens, New York, on Oct. 31, 2012 Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

How much would it cost to protect New York City from the next superstorm Sandy? To find out, researchers from the U.S. and Netherlands bashed the city with 549 simulations of storm surges, ranging from bad to “extremely low probability” (i.e., really bad). Then the researchers did a benefit-cost analysis of different defenses, including erecting massive surge barriers in lower New York Bay and the Long Island Sound.

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