Amazing How a 2 x 4 Upside the Head Focuses the Mind. Media Starts Asking “What the *bleep* Happened?”
October 31, 2012
NBC, in this case, actually states the question, “What is happening to our world?” – goes to Kevin Trenberth and Katharine Hayhoe for answers. As the East Coast media picks itself up and spits out teeth, look for more of this. Take a look at this AP piece that found its way on to Fox News’ website…
WASHINGTON – Climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer stood along the Hudson River and watched his research come to life as Hurricane Sandy blew through New York.
Just eight months earlier, the Princeton University professor reported that what used to be once-in-a-century devastating floods in New York City would soon happen every three to 20 years. He blamed global warming for pushing up sea levels and changing hurricane patterns.
New York “is now highly vulnerable to extreme hurricane-surge flooding,” he wrote.
“The ingredients of this storm seem a little bit cooked by climate change, but the overall storm is difficult to attribute to global warming,” Canada’s University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver said.
Some individual parts of Sandy and its wrath seem to be influenced by climate change, several climate scientists said.
First, there’s sea level rise. Water levels around New York are a nearly a foot higher than they were 100 years ago, said Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann.
Add to that the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean, which is about 2 degrees warmer on average than a century ago, said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University. Warm water fuels hurricanes.
After years of disagreement, climate scientists and hurricane experts have concluded that as the climate warms, there will be fewer total hurricanes. But those storms that do develop will be stronger and wetter.
Sandy took an unprecedented sharp left turn into New Jersey. Usually storms keep heading north and turn east harmlessly out to sea. But a strong ridge of high pressure centered over Greenland blocked Sandy from going north or east, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, an expert in how a warming Arctic affects extreme weather patterns, said recent warming in the Arctic may have played a role in enlarging or prolonging that high pressure area. But she cautioned it’s not clear whether the warming really had that influence on Sandy.
On Tuesday, both New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they couldn’t help but notice that extreme events like Sandy are causing them more and more trouble.
“What is clear is that the storms that we’ve experienced in the last year or so, around this country and around the world, are much more severe than before,” Bloomberg said. “Whether that’s global warming or what, I don’t know. But we’ll have to address those issues.”