The Superstorm that is slowly moving toward the Middle Atlantic and Northeast states appears to be an anomaly by most weather standards. Or is it? Could this superstorm be related to Global Warming? More specifically, could it be related to the the melting of the the arctic sea ice?
Climate change, according to some, has conveniently been left out of the 2012 Presidential election. ScienceDebate dot org, and the AAAS tried to get the candidates to discuss climate change along with other top American science questions including how innovation impacts the economy, energy, basic research, education, water resources.
And here is a very odd coincidence. On November 1, at The Mott House, Capitol Hill, Science Debate dot org and ClimateDesk will sponsor a debate between Obama campaign surrogate Kevin Knobloch and former Republican congressman and Delaware governor Mike Castle. The debate that ScienceDebate and AAAS wanted to have will come on the aftermath of what is turning out to be a Monster Storm that is affecting not only 60 million people in the Mid-Altantic and North East States, but the 2012 Presidential election.
The event is called:
The Debate We Should Have Had: Science, Climate and the Next Four Years
The latest position of Sandy, the Monster Storm is shown in the map below and as you see is off the coast of New Jersey, and is moving NNW at 18 mph, with sustained winds of 90 mph. We will experience gusts of 115 mph. Sandy is classified as a category 1 hurricane, but is one of the largest Atlantic hurricanes on record.
According to the NOAA and NWS, Hurricane Sandy will evolve into a Post Tropical Cyclone, and will be known as “Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy.” In this scenario, Sandy as a hurricane derives its energy from the ocean, whereas cyclones, which Sandy will become, derives its energy from temperature contrasts in the atmosphere. As hurricane Sandy turns slightly left and heads inland, it will meet up with cold polar air, and this convergence will result in a catastrophic storm with high winds, ocean surge and inland water flooding, lots of rain, and enormous amounts of snow further to the west in the Appalachian Mountains.
Climate Change Connections
Climate change, especially with respect to global warming, raises the shackles of many right-learning politicians. Climate change, global warming, the Big Bang, birth control, theories of the origins of the universe are linked together with evolution as ideas that are frightful, and therefore, must be considered very carefully in the classroom.
Climate change is one of those ideas that gets the gander up with a lot of people, and as a result, legislatures around the country have passed laws to “protect” those teachers that might discuss such ideas critically. So, the latest ploy of suggesting that some scientific theories need to be analyzed and discussed critically is simply another way for creationists, and intelligent design advocates to enter the realm of science education. The National Center for Science Education keeps a watchful eye on these kinds of events, and has made recent posts regarding the goings on in Florida and Missouri.
The storm that his bringing havoc to a huge swath of the U.S. mainland does have a climate change connection
Andrew Revkin, over on Dot Earth, explored the connection of Frankenstorm in the context of climate change in a recent post. Revkin asks “what is the role, if any, of greenhouse-drive global warming in this kind of rare system?” Rare system indeed. Revkin reports that some climate scientists say that this the kind of storm that one would expect following a summer in which the Arctic was “open-water.”
As Revkin notes, it is not a simple implication to say that these monster storms are the direct result of the global warming. Warmer ocean temperatures in the tropics seem to be related to more active hurricane seasons. And here is this powerful statement from a paper Revkin wrote ten years ago about the Northeast and its stormy history:
Four times since the last ice age, at intervals roughly 3,000 years apart, the Northeast has been struck by cycles of storms far more powerful than any in recent times, according to a new study. The region appears to have entered a fifth era in which such superstorms are more likely, the researchers say.
So, is the hurricane Sandy one of these superstorms that Revkin speaks about. Probably.
But another interesting aspect that Revkin brought into his blog post was research by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers, who said:
The jet stream pattern — particularly the strongly negative NAO [North Atlantic Oscillation] and associated blocking — that has been in place for the last 2 weeks and is projected to be with us into next week is exactly the sort of highly amplified (i.e., wavy) pattern that I’d expect to see more of in response to ice loss and enhanced Arctic warming….It could very well be that general warming along with high sea-surface temperatures have lengthened the tropical storm season, making it more likely that a Sandy could form, travel so far north, and have an opportunity to interact with a deep jet-stream trough associated with the strong block, which is steering it westward into the mid-Atlantic. While it’s impossible to say how this scenario might have unfolded if sea-ice had been as extensive as it was in the 1980s, the situation at hand is completely consistent with what I’d expect to see happen more often as a result of unabated warming and especially the amplification of that warming in the Arctic.
You might also want to read Chris Mooney’s article over on ClimateDesk entitled, Did Climate Change Supersize Hurricane Sandy? He explores how the following variables might be affected by climate change: precipitation, storm surge, ocean temperatures, massive size, & hybrid storm.
This is a devastating storm, and we hope that people take heed, and do all that is necessary to protect themselves from this Atlantic hurricane, turned super cyclone.
Are you in the path of superstore, Sandy? What precautions have you taken? What are the conditions right now?Tags: global warming, Monster Storm, Sandy, Superstorm, Tropical Cyclone