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Sandy's surge captured by HY-2A

The majority of the devastation caused by 2012's Hurricane Sandy was due to its storm surge, which caused water levels of up to 3m above normal levels along the New Jersey and New York coasts.

By a remarkable coincidence the chinese HY2A satellite passed over Sandy at just the right time to measure the size and structure of Sandy's storm surge. The altimeter measured a storm surge of almost 1.5m, with significant wave heights of nearly 8m, making it the largest surge to date to be captured by satellite altimetry. The results have been validated against nearby tide gauges.

The full results have been published in Oceanography and are available online:

 Hurricane Storm Surge Measured by Satellite Altimetry, by Lillibridge, Lin and Shum.

Many thanks to John Lillibridge for bringing this paper to our attention.

HY2A (pictured left) is the first altimetry and radiometry satellite from the China National Space Administration, with collaboration from CNES for the altimetry.