Is Hurricane Sandy another sign of climate change?
A few weeks ago, I reported HERE that an increasing percentage of Americans say there’s solid evidence that man-made global warming is a fact — presumably because of the numerous weather anomalies of recent years.
And now the question arises as to whether Hurricane Sandy is the result of ongoing climate change.
Elizabeth Kolbert of The New Yorker has THIS to say on the matter:
As with any particular “weather-related loss event,” it’s impossible to attribute Sandy to climate change. However, it is possible to say that the storm fits the general pattern in North America, and indeed around the world, toward more extreme weather, a pattern that, increasingly, can be attributed to climate change…[S]cientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in New York, published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the apparent increase in extreme heat waves. Extreme summertime heat, which just a few decades ago affected much less than one per cent of the earth’s surface, “now typically covers about 10% of the land area,” the paper observed. “It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies”—i.e., heat waves—“such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.” It is worth noting that one of several forces fuelling Sandy is much-higher-than-average sea-surface temperatures along the East Coast.
It is, at this point, impossible to say what it will take for American politics to catch up to the reality of North American climate change. More super-storms, more heat waves, more multi-billion-dollar “weather-related loss events”? The one thing that can be said is that, whether or not our elected officials choose to acknowledge the obvious, we can expect, “with a high degree of confidence,” that all of these are coming.