Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 131, Issue 3, pp 443–453 | Cite as

An analysis of the synoptic and dynamical characteristics of hurricane Sandy (2012)

  • George VarlasEmail author
  • Anastasios Papadopoulos
  • Petros Katsafados
Original Paper


Hurricane Sandy affected the Caribbean Islands and the Northeastern United States in October 2012 and caused 233 fatalities, severe rainfalls, floods, electricity blackouts, and 75 billion U.S. dollars in damages. In this study, the synoptic and dynamical characteristics that led to the formation of the hurricane are investigated. The system was driven by the interaction between the polar jet displacement and the subtropical jet stream. In particular, Sandy was initially formed as a tropical depression system over the Caribbean Sea and the unusually warm sea drove its intensification. The interaction between a rapidly approaching trough from the northwest and the stagnant ridge over the Atlantic Ocean drove Sandy to the northeast coast of United States. To better understand the dynamical characteristics and the mechanisms that triggered Sandy, a non-hydrostatic mesoscale model has been used. Model results indicate that the surface heat fluxes and the moisture advection enhanced the convective available potential energy, increased the low-level convective instability, and finally deepened the hurricane. Moreover, the upper air conditions triggered the low-level frontogenesis and increased the asymmetry of the system which finally affected its trajectory.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) for providing the gridded analyses and surface observational data recorded by stations of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) used in the present study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyHarokopion University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland WatersHellenic Centre for Marine ResearchAnavyssosGreece

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