Hurricane Sandy and climate change

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I guess it's no surprise that most of the news media coverage of Hurricane Sandy was focused on the immediate -- when you have six million people without power and transit systems paralyzed and at least 38 deaths, you deal with that stuff first. There will be plenty of time later to talk about causes and preparadness and what to do next time.

But I expected a little more mainstream coverage of the clear and obvious fact that this storm -- and the many more severe storms that are likely to follow in places that aren't used to seeing this type of weather -- is the result of climate change caused by humans. 

The scientists -- at least, all but the looney ones -- are not in denial. The oceans are warmer than they were 20 years ago, and the warm water extends farther north. Warmer oceans mean more, and stornger, hurricanes:

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.

There have been three presidential debates. Both candidates have suspended campaigning because of Sandy. Mitt Romney's out collecting cans of food that the Red Cross doesn't want.But at no point in this campaign has climate change been a serious issue.

Maybe people will start paying attention now. Maybe a $20 billion hit to the heavily populated East Coast areas where the heart of the nation's banking and politics business are will wake up the White House and Congress. Because this ship has sailed -- the damage already done is serious and can't easily be repaired. And preventing serious from becoming catastrophic is now our only option, and we're running out of time.

Most of Manhattan and Long Island is less than two feet about sea level. Unless you're going to build massive dikes around both of them, those places are going to be worse off than south Florida in a few years. Sandy was a Category 1 when it hit the Jersey shore; in a few years, that region is going to be dealing with Category 3 and 4 storms and the flooding will be devastating.

Can we please talk about this?

Comments

That's a stretch, even for an obsessive organ like SFBG.

I guarantee you that hurricanes were happening here long before we had highly regulated utilities.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

"There have been three presidential debates. Both candidates have suspended campaigning because of Sandy. Mitt Romney's out collecting cans of food that the Red Cross doesn't want.But at no point in this campaign has climate change been a serious issue."

It's a bit difficult to take you seriously since you enthusiastically endorsed one of them after you spent time making mealy-mouthed excuses/statements about your "disappointments" with your "savior" Obama. The endorsement was embarrassing. I suppose "No Endorsement" or an endorsement for one of the second-party*** candidates was not an option for you. How "progressive" for you to continue enabling an Establishment pro-war politician addicted to drones who has been worse than Bush and a right-wing, pro-war, pro-corporate Establishment party of and for the 1%. No real, true progressive would want anything to do with either of them (Obama or the D Party).

*** We have a one-party corporatist system of two right wings.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

"But I expected a little more mainstream coverage of the clear and obvious fact that this storm -- and the many more severe storms that are likely to follow in places that aren't used to seeing this type of weather -- is the result of climate change caused by humans."

Just like the 1938 unnamed hurricane that devastated New England!

Or the 1954 hurricane Carol that also devastated New England!

Do you have any actual evidence that hurricanes are getting more powerful, Tim, or are you just making stuff up, like usual?

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly Persistent on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

...or the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly Persistent on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

To assist Tim's education, here is the count of major hurricanes to hit the continental US by decade, from the National Hurricane Center.

Good luck finding any evidence that the number or severity of hurricanes is increasing...

Category ALL Major
DECADE 1 2 3 4 5 1to5 3to5
1851-1860 7 5 5 1 0 18 6
1861-1870 8 6 1 0 0 15 1
1871-1880 7 6 7 0 0 20 7
1881-1890 8 9 4 1 0 22 5
1891-1900 8 5 5 3 0 21 8
1901-1910 10 4 4 0 0 18 4
1911-1920 8 5 4 3 0 20 7
1921-1930 8 2 3 2 0 15 5
1931-1940 4 7 6 1 1 19 8
1941-1950 8 6 9 1 0 24 10
1951-1960 8 1 6 3 0 18 9
1961-1970 3 5 4 1 1 14 6
1971-1980 6 2 4 0 0 12 4
1981-1990 9 2 3 1 0 15 4
1991-2000 3 6 4 0 1 14 5
2001-2010 8 4 6 1 0 19 7

1851-2010 113 75 75 18 3 284 96
Average per 7.1 4.7 4.7 1.1 0.2 17.8 6.0
decade

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly Persistent on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

Look, you cretins. If Tim talks about "the clear and obvious fact" he doesn't NEED to supply any supporting basis for his statement. Facts are for you insensitive mental midgets who haven't yet accepted Progressivism. Tim is advancing the great Progressive agenda. That's all the fact that you small brained infidels need, get it?

Posted by Steroidal Progressive on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

Maybe you ought to learn some science and learn a bit about how carbon traps heat instead of, in effect, bragging what an ignorant fool you are.

The science models have predicted more severe storms due to increased carbon in the atmosphere which traps heat because as the carbon in the atmosphere increases, a greater % of heat rays from the earth gets reflected back to earth (it's called science - that thing you apparently avoid like the plague).

Do you think Tim is responsible for that piece of "liberal" science that anybody who's interested in knowing the facts can find out??? Maybe Tim is also responsible for those "liberal" laws of physics and chemistry.

Hey dummy, did you know it's the first time the stock market's been closed for two days in a row due to weather since the 1880s???

It's good you can hide behind an anonymous name because if your real name was shown, readers of your post who knew you would know you're also one ignorant MF'er with a science education equivalent to probably that of a 6th grader or less (apologies to 6th graders out there, most of whom could probably smoke you in a science test). My guess is if they've talked to you in anything related to science, they'd know in about 10 seconds what an ignoramus you are.

If ignorance and stupidity is bliss, then you're one blissful person wallowing in your cluelessness. Of course to conservatives, that's something they take pride in.

Thanks Tim for your post - not everybody makes little good use of the neurons in their head.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

Guest, Tim wrote that there was a "clear and obvious fact that this storm...is the result of climate change caused by humans".

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. A few commenters have pointed out similar storms and patterns going back many decades.

You've spent a lot of your own energy calling us dummies. Please show us exactly where it has been demonstrated, in a "clear and obvious" way, that this storm was caused by humans as Tim claimed. Tim very often says whatever he feels like saying, without any regard for the truth and, at least under Bruce, it was falsely labeled as journalism.

Come on, you went to the trouble of calling us dummies, lets see you provide a basis for what Tim wrote. Or maybe, perhaps, you just like to hear yourself pontificate.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

While the historic stats furnished show in fact no increase in hurricane activity.

Tim simply saw a news story and looked for a way to blame PG&E because Bruce has told Tim to be obsessed with PG&E just like he is.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 12:02 am

Oy, Tim, weather change and climate change are different things. Both are happening but it takes time and piles of observations that are still being compiled to link the two.

Very little of Manhattan is at 2' elevation ASL Tim, a quick check with Google Earth or memories from a bike ride on the island should have nipped that error.

Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is at 8' ASL and the storm surge was 13.88', and the subway/LIRR/PATH tubes/tunnels are almost continually vented for their entire surface running lengths which include approaches to sea level waterways the East and Hudson rivers.

It is easy for climate change doubters to take you seriously when you mess up on the basic empirical shit.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 5:35 am

Because liberals consider Christianity unsavory, they've had to invent a religion for themselves to fill this spiritual void. But despite their confidence in the holy ghost of "science," the only proof of their climate-change god is their unswerving devotion to it, which allies them with Christianity more closely than they might admit. As with "it was god's will," the solemn invocation of "climate change" makes them feel less afraid in an uncertain world. In Tim's peculiar case, assigning blame to people or companies for offenses that are thus far theoretical allows him to hate certain people or certain groups with impunity, even as he flies the banner of tolerance and diversity.

Posted by Reginald Festerpizzle-Nobbington III (Esq) on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 10:36 am

When it comes to climate change, Obama is not your savior, and neither is Romney. Both candidates have taken record amounts of money from big oil. But it was Obama who opened up massive amounts of public land (and coast line) to the energy vultures, who supports fracking, and avoids any discussion of global warming. There is only one candidate who is even talking about climate change and that's Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Stein is calling for clean renewable energy, restoration of our forests, rivers and fisheries. Best of all, Stein will create 25 milion living-wage jobs, single payer health care and free public education through college with her policy for a "Green New Deal". A vote for Stein will send a strong message to Washington (and the 1%) that the issue of global warming matters to the American people, and that business as usual is no longer an option.

"..since Obama's going to win California by a sizable majority anyway, a protest vote for Stein probably won't do any harm." ~Guardian Staff Writers

Vote for your dreams for a sustainable future, and not your fears! Vote for Jill Stein for President!!

Posted by Ana Rosa on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:28 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

That's the best definition of a "clueless loser" that I know. Look, the Republican Party was once a minor "third party" created in 1854 by anti-slavery activists. Third parties have championed issues from women's right to vote to abolishing slavery. The Green Party was the first to talk about single payer health care, which pushed the Dems and Repugs to address the issue of health care in this country. That's no small accomplishment.

If Jill Stein wins five percent of the vote in this election, the Green Party will automatically be on every presidential ballot in 2016 and will receive $20 million in public campaign funding. This would give her real clout to push future candidates to adopt a green agenda. Climate change is deadly serious business, and we simply don't have any more time to waste on the big oil candidates. The only way to change the system is for people to start voting against two-party lines.

Jill Stein for President 2012!

Posted by Ana Rosa on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 1:21 pm