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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I avoided comment for a few days to let things settle out and get a scientific take. Here's a blog from Scientific American:

Is Sandy a Global Warming Superstorm? Scientific American Connects the Dots.

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Cassady Sharp

This blog by Scientific American‘s senior editor Mark Fischetti addresses the science of Hurricane Sandy and its connections to climate change. And we appreciate sound science around here.

Stay updated on Hurricane Sandy aftermath and cleanup including Greenpeace’s solar truck, the Rolling Sunlight, as it makes it way through New York neighborhoods providing power.

If you’ve followed the U.S. news and weather in the past 24 hours you have no doubt run across a journalist or blogger explaining why it’s difficult to say that climate change could be causing big storms like Sandy. Well, no doubt here: it is.

The hedge expressed by journalists is that many variables go into creating a big storm, so the size of Hurricane Sandy, or any specific storm, cannot be attributed to climate change. That’s true, and it’s based on good science. However, that statement does not mean that we cannot say that climate change is making storms bigger. It is doing just that—a statement also based on good science, and one that the insurance industry is embracing, by the way. (Huh? More on that in a moment.)

Scientists have long taken a similarly cautious stance, but more are starting to drop the caveat and link climate change directly to intense storms and other extreme weather events, such as the warm 2012 winter in the eastern U.S. and the frigid one in Europe at the same time. They are emboldened because researchers have gotten very good in the past decade at determining what affects the variables that create big storms. Hurricane Sandy got large because it wandered north along the U.S. coast, where ocean water is still warm this time of year, pumping energy into the swirling system. But it got even larger when a cold Jet Stream made a sharp dip southward from Canada down into the eastern U.S. The cold air, positioned against warm Atlantic air, added energy to the atmosphere and therefore to Sandy, just as it moved into that region, expanding the storm even further.

Here’s where climate change comes in. The atmospheric pattern that sent the Jet Stream south is colloquially known as a “blocking high”—a big pressure center stuck over the very northern Atlantic Ocean and southern Arctic Ocean. And what led to that? A climate phenomenon called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)—essentially, the state of atmospheric pressure in that region. This state can be positive or negative, and it had changed from positive to negative two weeks before Sandy arrived. The climate kicker? Recent research by Charles Greene at Cornell University and other climate scientists has shown that as more Arctic sea ice meltsin the summer—because of global warming—the NAO is more likely to be negative during the autumn and winter. A negative NAO makes the Jet Stream more likely to move in a big, wavy pattern across the U.S., Canada and the Atlantic, causing the kind of big southward dip that occurred during Sandy.
Climate change amps up other basic factors that contribute to big storms. For example, the oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms. And the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture, which is drawn into storms and is then dumped on us.

These changes contribute to all sorts of extreme weather. In a recent op-ed in theWashington Post, James Hansen at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York blamed climate change for excessive drought, based on six decades of measurements, not computer models: “Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.”

He went on to write that the Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 could each be attributed to climate change, concluding that “The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.”

Hanson also argued a year ago that Earth is entering a period of rapid climate change, so radical weather will be upon us sooner than we’d like. Scientific Americanjust published a big feature article detailing the same point.

Indeed, if you’re a regular Scientific American reader, you might recall that another well-regarded scientist predicted behemoths such as Sandy in 2007. The article, by Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, was presciently titled, “Warmer Oceans, Stronger Hurricanes.” Trenberth’s extensive analysis concluded that although the number of Atlantic hurricanes each year might not rise, the strength of them would.

Hurricane Sandy has emboldened more scientists to directly link climate change and storms, without the hedge. On Monday, as Sandy came ashore in New Jersey, Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, tweeted: “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is [the] storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.”

Raymond Bradley, director of the Climate Systems Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, was quoted in the Vancouver Sun saying: “When storms develop, when they do hit the coast, they are going to be bigger and I think that’s a fair statement that most people could sign onto.”

A recent, peer-reviewed study published by several authors in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concludes: “The largest cyclones are most affected by warmer conditions and we detect a statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events (roughly corresponding to tropical storm size) since 1923.”

Greg Laden, an anthropologist who blogs about culture and science, wrote this week in an online piece: “There is always going to be variation in temperature or some other weather related factor, but global warming raises the baseline. That’s true. But the corollary to that is NOT that you can’t link climate change to a given storm. All storms are weather, all weather is the immediate manifestation of climate, climate change is about climate.”

Now, as promised: If you still don’t believe scientists, then believe insurance giant Munich Re. In her October 29 post at the The New Yorker, writer Elizabeth Kolbert notes:

Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, issued a study titled “Severe Weather in North America.” According to the press release that accompanied the report, “Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.” … While many factors have contributed to this trend, including an increase in the number of people living in flood-prone areas, the report identified global warming as one of the major culprits: “Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity.”

Insurers, scientists and journalist are beginning to drop the caveats and simply say that climate change is causing big storms. As scientists collect more and more data over time, more of them will be willing to make the same data-based statements.

In addition to the increased severity of the storm because of warmer ocean temperatures later in the year, the estimates of sea level rise in the New York New Jersey Bight that I have seen is about one foot. So one foot of the 13 feet of surge is related to sea level rise--driven by climate change.

Now tune in to Fox news and mrgybe for the reports of former tobacco "scientists" claiming that there is no relationship.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The surface of the Earth could turn into a scorching desert and there will be lobbyists telling us that climate change is a myth, just like in the tobacco biz today.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A causal relationship can exist, whether or not we can prove it. Add to that the fact that multiple contributing factors are at play, some of which are man made and it becomes harder to explain but also somewhat harder to deny.

A late tropical storm merging with a winter storm at a full moon high tide in the most populous corner of the US? Bad luck.
A category 1 hurricane in late October riding the super heated Gulf Stream all the way up to NYC while gaining strength before making landfall? Not entirely accidental.

florian - ny22
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check the records, we are just returning to a cycle that existed thru the mid 50's into the early 60's with a bunch up hurricanes running up the east coast into new england.
This one was stonger sure, but the pattern is something that we've had before.

Sorry Al.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NW30--So now that you've agreed with me:

This one was stonger sure,

(I think you meant stronger), then you might realize that maybe 25% of the damage was associated with global warming. So do you continue to support the carbon industries approach about lying about it, and shifting the costs to the general public?
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, climate change refers to climate changing and may or may not be a manmade effect.
Those who are sure of those effects would have expected to see evidence of manmade contributions in the fifties also, just weaker.
Your statement supports man made climate change models, Nw30
I am not one of those people. I think we need more data.
I also think the idea that science should be decided based on your political views, whether warming, evolution,reproduction is the route back to the dark ages.
I am ashamed of my fellow Americans who are promoting our country as the leader of that evil future for the world.
These things are signs of the passing of Americas greatness in science and other fields.
That discouraging effect is for sure manmade.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The debate has taken an interesting turn of late. With the discrediting of the dafter computer models and silencing of their gullible followers, a more serious approach is being followed.

The East Anglian Climate Research Centre has officially admitted that global warming 'appears' to have been on hold for the last 14 years, and that making any predictions (computerwise) from this is difficult.

Wadhams (Cambridge) study of the oceans and the Arctic ice problem suggests that the eventual release of vast quantities of methane gas from the melting permafrost could become a 'trigger point' for very rapid warming. He is not alone in thinking that that (a trigger point) is what might start a very rapid warming effect, and there will be nothing we could do about it.

If the American storm really is an example of what could become the future norm, with, according to our papers, New Yorkers having to scavenge waste bins for something to eat, it may be wise to embrace a little socialism in future!

(Makes cup of tea, and awaits explosion! Rolling Eyes )
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nw30 wrote:
we are just returning to a cycle that existed thru the mid 50's into the early 60's with a bunch up hurricanes running up the east coast into new england.
This one was stonger sure, but the pattern is something that we've had before.

Joe Bastardi, one of the world's foremost hurricane specialists, emphasized strongly and explained simply and clearly why this reversion towards the '50s pattern has absolutely nothing to do with GW, man-made or natural, and everything to do with millions of years of same 'ol, same 'ol natural Atlantic and Pacific temperature oscillations. Warming Atlantic + cooling Pacific = Atlantic hurricanes, not a warmer planet. Suck it up, east-coasties; you're in for a bumpy ride for the next few years.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, to prove that people who watch Fox news actually get stupider, Mike fick posted claims by Joe Bastardi. A journalist and scientist? No, a paid denier. Here's a bit about him:

Joe Bastardi

• Bachelor's degree, meteorology, Penn State University (1978). [1]


Joe Bastardi is a weather forecaster and climate change skeptic. He worked for AccuWeather from 1978 until 2011 when he joined WeatherBELL Analytics LLC where he now works with Joseph D'Aleo, the climate change skeptic who founded

WeatherBELL offers an industry specific package (PDF) for "energy companies, hedge funds, or related businesses," which includes "daily videos produced by" Bastardi, a "daily interpretation" from Bastardi of NOAA's report, forecasts, and a weekly web conference call with Bastardi.

AccuWeather previously worked with the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a group that strongly opposed greenhouse gas reduction policies when it was active. GCC disbanded in 2002.

Bastardi is also a Senior Advisor at the American Tradition Institute (ATI), a group denounced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for contributing to an "environment that inhibits the free exchange of scientific findings and ideas." [2], [3]

Desmogblog (

Now let's take the substantive claims in order. First, the so-called 16 year hiatus in warming. As I keep pointing out, in a long term trend of 1 to 1.5 degrees of warming in a century, the trend associated with 16 years would amount to about 0.15 degrees--or an amount difficult or impossible to tease out from the chaotic records. To be sure, warming is not steady, and models are useful for comparing scenarios, not for accurately predicting the future. Second, the signals of global warming are different in different places because the globe, and associated weather and climate, is a complicated thing. It is absolutely clear that average temperatures are about 1 degree higher than they were a century ago, CO2 levels are dramatically higher, there is an acknowledged relationship between CO2 and warming, and we don't understand either the constants in the equation, or the degree to which unmodeled elements such as cloud cover will dampen the impacts of temperature rise. It is also absolutely clear that temperatures in some oceans are significantly higher than the 1 degree average, and CO2 caused acid levels in oceans are increasing. The good news is that will probably slow warming below the worst model predictions, the bad news is that it will have dramatic ecological impacts.

Bastardi is probably right that normal chaos theory would predict a return to more hurricanes making landfall in the United States. But no responsible scientists have said that Sandy was caused by global warming. Instead, we have a situation where the warmer ocean, later in the season, put additional energy into the hurricane part of the storm, that warmer ocean contributed to the extraordinary low and associated surge, and the previous sea level rise associated with warming, about 1 foot, made flooding worse. So looking at those factors we might make a WAG that 2 feet of the 13 feet of surge was associated with climate change, and not with the random nature of hurricanes.

This is not news. California's major storm season, the El Nino winter of 1982-1983, had a sea level anomoly (some, but not all surge, and a bit complicated to explain accurately) of 3 feet in Northern California. That is much greater than the expected sea level rise of about 14 inches. But the problem is that sea level rise adds to the base--so a weaker storm, with an anomoly of under 2 feet (do the math, that's 2/3 as strong) all of a sudden does the same damage. Which means that the mega-storms happen more frequently--like 3 in the Northeast in the last 3 years. To say that is not associated with climate change is to bury your head further in the sand--or up Rupert's ass.

California has now spent about 6 years trying to figure out how to plan to manage climate change, since it is already happening. New York and New Jersey just read the memo.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like the temperature hasn't change for 16 years...
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