Oct 29 2012
As Hurricane Sandy bears down on New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and about 10 other states.
I'm working late tonight-so I have been following the storms path on the news. Upwards of 1 million people are without power. Evidently Atlantic City, Cape May and New York are getting the stuffing beaten out of them.
The Atlantic has a good post up-pointing out that the likelyhood is we will see more of these types of storms-not less:
But the scary thing out there isn't annoying journalists hyping every hurricane like mad, but rather that storms like Sandy will be more commonplace. And instead of being a "storm of a century" Sandy and "storms of the century" like it, could be storms we could start seeing more and more of. Though scientists don't really want to go out on a limb linking extreme weather to climate change—NPRs' Adam Frank goes into this brilliantly—they are pretty clear on one thing:
Oceans Are Getting Warmer. That means hurricane season is getting longer: "When you heat the oceans more, you extend the length of hurricane season," Weather Underground's Dr. Jeff Masters (seriously, go read his stuff) told Democracy Now. "There’s been ample evidence over the last decade or so that hurricane season is getting longer—it starts earlier, ends later. You’re more likely to get these sort of late October storms now," he adds. As NPR's Frank explains, a warmer ocean means more evaporation, and evaporation means more storms. According to an MIT study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, scientists found a connection between warmer years and strong hurricanes. In that same vein, warmer oceans give storms like Sandy more energy to sustain themselves. And it just so happens that in the first six months of 2012, sea surface temperatures on the Northeast Continental Shelf experienced record highs.
The increase of the number of hurricanes increases the chance of one of them lurching toward the Northeast, and that's one reason why we can't just throw around the term "storm of the century" whenever we feel like it (otherwise, we'd be the journalists who cried "storm of the…").
This storm is going to be a real mess that is to be sure.