New York dodged a bullet by inches last year as the remnants of Hurricane Irene bore down. Ben Orlove, director of the master’s program in Climate and Society at Columbia University, wrote on CNN.com: “Irene also arrived at a time of especially high tides, and its storm surge came within inches of flooding the sea wall. Storms and tides are natural, but sea level rise is not. As it continues, New York grows more vulnerable.”

Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences, recently modeled the effect of climate change on storm surges for the New York area. In a paper published by Nature in February, he and three colleagues concluded that the “storm of the century” would become the storm of “every twenty years or less.”…

The conclusion of Oppenheimer and his colleagues is that storms will become larger and more powerful.

“Climate change will probably increase storm intensity and size simultaneously, resulting in a significant intensification of storm surges,” they wrote. Sandy had a diameter of some 900 miles, much larger than most storms.