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  •  Climate change makes Sandy more likely (3+ / 0-)

    Steroids made Barry Bonds Home runs more likely.

    to ask, "was this particular HR on 7/21/99 by Mr. Bonds caused by steroids?" is almost an unanswerable question - the kind of question posed by one who wants to confuse the real, statistical link between steroid use and home runs.

    Here are some ways climate change makes Sandy more likely (from Joe Romm):

    1.   Warming-driven sea level rise makes storm surges more destructive. In fact, a recent study found “The sea level on a stretch of the US Atlantic coast that features the cities of New York, Norfolk and Boston is rising up to four times faster than the global average.”

    2.    “Owing to higher SSTs [sea surface temperatures] from human activities, the increased water vapor in the atmosphere leads to 5 to 10% more rainfall and increases the risk of flooding,” as Kevin Trenberth explained to me in a 2011 email about Hurricane Irene. He elaborates on that point for Sandy here and for all superstorms in this article.

     3.   “However, because water vapor and higher ocean temperatures help fuel the storm, it is likely to be more intense and bigger as well,” Trenberth added (see another of his articles here). Relatedly, warming also extends the range of warm SSTs, which can help sustain the strength of a hurricane as it steers on a northerly track into cooler water (much as apparently happened for Irene). September had the second highest global ocean temperatures on record and the Eastern seaboard was 5°F warmer than average (with global warming  responsible for about 1°F of that).

    4.   The unusual path of the storm — into the heavily populated east coast rather than out to see — was caused by a very strong blocking high pressure system that recent studies have linked to warming.  Meteorologist and former Hurricane Hunter Jeff Masters has an excellent analysis of this, “Why did Hurricane Sandy take such an unusual track into New Jersey?“

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:41:35 AM PST

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