Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy intensifies climate change debate

By Dorsi Diaz

Flooded Avenue C at East 6th Street in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood of Loisaida, October 30, 2012, moments before an explosion at the power substation took out power to the neighborhood. Credit: David Shankbone
Although recent polls show that 70% of people now believe in climate change, recent extreme weather events are sure to drive that number even higher. With the East Coast of the U.S. reeling from the extreme devastation of Hurricane Sandy, attention has been brought back to what caused the Superstorm and why.

Many in the scientific community point to climate change as being a major contributing factor in the unprecedented storm.

Paul Beckwith, climate scientist at The University of Ottawa and member of the Sierra Club Canada, goes into detail in explaining how Hurricane Sandy was fueled by climate change:
“Rising greenhouse gases are rapidly warming our climate with Arctic amplification by 5x due to darkening from sea ice and snow cover collapse. The resulting decrease in temperature gradient between the equator and Arctic slows the jet stream winds which increases their waviness in the north/south direction. Combined with 4% higher water vapor in warmer atmosphere, this waviness makes storms more intense and frequent and larger in size and occur in different places. It made Sandy enormous in size and made her turn left onto the U.S. coast instead of turn right like every other hurricane in history.”

In a comment to Dorsi Diaz, reporter for the Examiner, Beckwith goes on to explain what would have happened had Sandy not been influenced by the climate anomalies that fed into the storm:
“Without the blocking high pressure northward and low pressure trough pulling her to the coastline (from the jet stream waviness) she would have headed harmlessly out to sea. Without the huge waviness of the jets the massive and ongoing drought in the U.S. would not be occurring. As sea ice further declines these storms and drought and all extreme weather events are certain to explode in magnitude, size, and frequency.”

According to Sam Carana, AMEG member (Arctic Methane Emergency Group) and editor of the Arctic-News blog:
“Warming in the Arctic is accelerating at a pace several times that of the rest of the world. This is changing the jet stream, which is what forced Sandy to move inland, to spread out and to hang around for such a long time. Without more effective action on climate change, weather events like this can be expected to hit the U.S. more often and with increasing force in future.”

Although some die-hard climate skeptics say that Hurricane Sandy was not caused or fueled by climate change, that minority seems to be losing ground as evidence piles up in favor of those that believe that extreme weather events are being caused by a warming climate.

Nathan Currier, senior climate advisor for Public Policy Virginia, who also writes about climate change, had this to say about it in a recent article:
“All major components of this super storm show the signature of human-induced climate change to varying degrees, and without global warming the chance of the three occurring together like this would have a probability of about zero. So, let's make it simple, and just say climate change caused this storm.”

In a sampling of Americans, there are some interesting views and comments being made about climate change and its effects on the globe.

Writer Julia Hanna was amazed at Hurricane Sandy’s strength and ferocity,
“I heard about the hurricane from people posting about how the replica ship Bounty went down, and it seemed surreal to hear about a hurricane taking down a ship. I am not a climatologist, but I have never heard of a hurricane of such severity.”

Although losing ships in a hurricane is not a new phenomena, evidence is piling up that devastating hurricanes are on the rise due to global warming. In a report by the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), hurricanes are expected to become more frequent in the coming decades:
“Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause hurricanes globally to be more intense on average (by 2 to 11% according to model projections for an IPCC A1B scenario). This change would imply an even larger percentage increase in the destructive potential per storm, assuming no reduction in storm size.”

As the clean-up from Hurricane Sandy continues, more people are starting to wonder why we are having such extreme weather events around the globe. Doug Harry, West Coast resident, comments:
“Too many people dismiss climate change. You don’t make mother nature angry.”

Many that Diaz interviewed agree with Doug, that the Earth is now showing us the consequences of not tackling climate change earlier on.

Patrick McNulty, another AMEG member, has some ideas for tackling the problem that climate change is bringing us.
“Not allowing solar radiation to re-radiate back out to space because of fossil fuel GHG's trapping that energy in the atmosphere/oceans raises Earths total energy budget closer to the surface. You can now expect once in a lifetime storms to occur every decade. BTW, my tunnel idea reverses this trend.”

Patrick McNulty proposes tunnels
Patrick’s tunnel idea for dealing with the effects of Arctic ice melting are one of the many “solutions” that are being examined in the response to battling the effects of climate change.

Changing the way we consume fossil fuels is being tackled by other inventive people including an idea that includes the use of “bio-fuel”. One manufacturer of this bio-fuel cites that there would be less impact on our environment, one way to slow down human’s contribution to the problem of our warming climate.

In a opening statement on their website, the makers of the new bio-fuel Envirolene say it's:
“the world’s strongest, cleanest alcohol fuel. It’s a new, more powerful class of ”oxygenate” fuel. It’s stronger and cleaner than ethanol, more profitable to produce, and this new clean fuel powers any gas or diesel engine from a ship to a small engine with no modifications.”

Jay Toups, CEO and managing partner of BioRoot Energy, the makers of Envirolene, comments,
“There are 1 billion plus tailpipes and smokestacks spewing emissions every day. That's the real threat because it never stops.”

Mead Rose, who has also been following the climate change debate for several years, closely follows the melting of the Arctic ice and it’s ramifications.

In one of the articles that Mead submitted, the evidence of climate suppression is exposed. In an 2009 article named, “Group Promoting Climate Skepticism has Extensive Ties to Exxon-Mobil”, evidence makes it clear that there has been an ongoing battle by Big Oil companies to discredit scientific evidence about climate change.

In his blunt statement in the article, Joseph Romm, lauded climate expert and author of the blog Climate Progress, said:
“Exxon-Mobil essentially funds people to lie. It’s important for people to understand that they pay off the overwhelming majority of groups in the area of junk science.”

Joe Romm also makes the connection between Superstorm Sandy and climate change when he stated today at Climate Progress:
“Scientists worst-case scenarios are already happening - latest findings deserve attention so that Sandy doesn't become just another Cassandra whose warnings are ignored. Now climate scientists project that we risk up to 10 times as much warming this century as in the last 50 years — with many devastating consequences from dramatic sea level rise to Dust-Bowlification.”

With the battle over climate change continuing, climate skeptics and disinformation concerns climate scientists who have been trying to warn of catastrophic consequences if we don’t address it now.

One well know climate scientist, Michael Mann, a Penn State University scientist who has been studying the climate for decades, said that ocean waters were about 1 degree warmer thanks to man-made climate change, one factor that clearly caused Sandy to swell. Mann, author of “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”, has been an outspoken critic on the debate over climate change.

Politicians, who used to shy away from the discussion of climate change, are even starting to “come clean” about what’s happening to our climate. With an estimated 3 foot rise in California’s sea level expected by 2100, California Governor Jerry Brown is pulling no punches in dealing with climate change deniers.

In a dire warning the California governor recently said:
Humanity is getting close to the point of no return.

EQECAT, a consultancy based in Oakland, California, estimates the economic losses from Hurricane Sandy at between $30 billion and $50 billion in economic losses, including property damage, lost business and extra living expenses.

The question is now, how much longer can we afford to debate about climate change?

From an article posted earlier at - posted with the author's permission


Read other eye-opening reports by Dorsi Diaz on what happens next if unchecked climate change continues:
Climate Change: Extreme Weather, Storms and Hurricane Sandy
The Tipping Point - a Global Climate Change Warming Point of No Return
The Arctic Sea Ice is Melting: What Does This Mean For Us?

1 comment:

  1. Situation warrants employing term Act of God' to enterprise of humans so it naturally tends to keep heat down and Earth alive, like garden and to link value of money so it reflects hope of the bounty of -Earth alive..
    Fact is the Bell curve of Earth temperature has visibly shifted and extremes on the high side of temps keep rising. This indicates declaration of Emergency is warranted. Worldwide.
    Large lag time means we need to jump ahead of the game and do it quick..
    The due process of change which is established in the world is not capable of adjusting fast enough to stop extinction. But Act of God writ of law application to contract law and to adjust value of money world wide is capable if we bring it into being, expanded from present form so it is designed just for such purpose. -Certainly such action is fully warranted.
    NO say denier, religious fanatic of all stripes.
    No say the scientists who think God is a belief.
    but whatever, we need to employ full force of industry and enterprise of all peoples in a way that can restore hope..
    Testing and trying, engaging fully the threat upon us; adjusting and applying ingenuity and courage; Instead of speculation to make money as at present, the win and loss of value given by what proves out by observation of satellite view and of Earth Science..
    Probability analysis and application of tests of what works and what doesn't.. We need to make a quantum jump in thinking and action.