Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Discuss Marilyn's column in PARADE magazine.

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Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby mountainelm » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:52 pm

Robert Schreib of Toms River, New Jersey, writes:

Marilyn: Was superstorm Sandy so bad because of global warming?

Marilyn responds:

In this case several factors not directly related to climate change converged to generate the event. On Sandy’s way north, it ran into a vast high-pressure system over Canada, which prevented it from continuing in that direction, as hurricanes normally do, and forced it to turn west. Then, because it traveled about 300 miles over open water before making landfall, it piled up an unusually large storm surge. An infrequent jet-stream reversal helped maintain and fuel the storm. As if all that weren’t bad enough, a full moon was occurring, so the moon, the earth, and the sun were in a straight line, increasing the moon’s and sun’s gravitational effects on the tides, thus lifting the high tide even higher. Add to this that the wind and water, though not quite at hurricane levels, struck an area rarely hit by storms of this magnitude so the structures were more vulnerable and a disaster occurred. One way global warming may have contributed is that the area’s sea level is somewhat higher than it was a century ago. A bit of good luck: Tides would have been even higher if the moon had been closer to us. Instead, it was just a few days from apogee, the point in its orbit where it’s farthest away.
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby robert 46 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:58 am

mountainelm wrote:
Marilyn wrote:....

What is your point in quoting Marilyn's blog without providing any comment of your own?

The question: "Was superstorm Sandy so bad because of global warming?"

Answer: Global warming raises ocean surface temperature. Hurricanes are energized by ocean surface temperature. Therefore a higher Atlantic Ocean surface temperature than what might have been the case without global warming very likely intensified the storm compared to what it likely would have been without the effect of global warming. Although this is a counterfactual conditional, it is a logically sound inference.
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby mountainelm » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:45 am

I posted this topic to stir some debate.

Here is what i found. Douglas Main said on LiveScience:
"
Climate change likely made Hurricane Sandy much worse than it otherwise would have been, scientists said here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

For one thing, rising sea levels set the stage for a more damaging storm surge, as Hurricane Sandy broke records with a 13.2-foot (4 meters) storm surge in New York City's Battery Park, said Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann.

"At least 1 foot of those 13.2 feet was arguably due to sea-level rise," he said. That's because sea levels are 1 foot (30 centimeters) higher than they were a century ago, he continued.

Sea surface temperatures off the East Coast also contributed to the flooding. Giving rise to above-average levels of water vapor, they helped intensify the storm and produce more rain, he said.

Warmer-than-usual temperatures over Greenland also played a role, said George Stone, a researcher at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

A high-pressure system over the huge island helped to "block" the North Atlantic, pushing the hurricane toward the East Coast, according to researchers. Typically, scientists say, the jet stream instead carries.
"

George Lakoff said on the Berkely Blog:
"
Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy — and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let’s say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies. There is a difference between systemic and direct causation. Punching someone in the nose is direct causation.
"

Marilyn only mentioned the sea level but seems to have missed the ocean surface temperature and the Greenland effect (if those are significant factors).

I still have to find a compelling argument denying the link beween Sandy and climate change. Any suggestions?
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby robert 46 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:31 am

mountainelm wrote:I posted this topic to stir some debate.

Advisable to provide some comment to accomplish that. Otherwise it devolves to how debatable Marilyn's choice of question and answer were, rather than the subject matter itself.
Here is what i found. Douglas Main said on LiveScience:
"....
Sea surface temperatures off the East Coast also contributed to the flooding. Giving rise to above-average levels of water vapor, they helped intensify the storm and produce more rain, he said.

That is the primary effect of Global Warming- to add energy from the sun to the atmosphere.
Marilyn only mentioned the sea level but seems to have missed the ocean surface temperature and the Greenland effect (if those are significant factors).

The ocean surface temperature is the primary "systemic" factor for hurricanes.
I still have to find a compelling argument denying the link beween Sandy and climate change. Any suggestions?

Whereas it is impossible to do a controlled experiment where climate change is not involved, analysis of the historical record is the only way to statistically establish a trend.
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby mountainelm » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:04 pm

Here is another Q&A:
"
Greg Wade of San Clemente, California, writes:

Marilyn: I read your answer to a question where you stated that climate change had indeed made Hurricane Sandy more severe because of the rise in ocean level. (January 20, 2013) I searched this and found a graph that showed Atlantic City's mean sea level had indeed risen. The graph showed a straight line 4 ml./yr. rise with a 95 percent confidence +/- 0.18 from 1911 to 2006. If human activity were contributing to the rise, wouldn't the graph have a different shape than a straight line?

Marilyn responds:

First, I didn't write that "...climate change had indeed made Hurricane Sandy more severe because of the rise in ocean level." All I wrote was, "One way global warming may have contributed..." That's a big difference! Regardless, my statement wasn't about the role of human activity in global warming. Instead, it followed a statement about the storm hitting a vulnerable area and referred to the severity of damage, not the severity of the storm itself.
"

I should have read the Marilyn's original reply more carefully. She said "one way" and "may" - a very careful choice of words. She does not imply there weren't some other factors in addition to the increasing sea level nor does she say that the increasing sea level is proven to be caused by human activity.
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby mountainelm » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:58 pm

Another Q&A:

"
Judy Weiss of Brookline, Massachusetts, writes:

Marilyn: As a member of Citizens Climate Lobby, a national organization of volunteers lobbying for legislation to stabilize the climate, I'm writing to say that your column on Hurricane Sandy and climate change covered this topic in a superficial and inaccurate manner. (January 20, 2013) For example, you failed to mention scientists have predicted that warming ocean temperatures will cause peak hurricane winds to increase about 10 percent for every 3 or 4 degrees the ocean warms. In October, the Atlantic coastal waters were reported to be 5 degrees warmer than average, so this might be one concrete way climate change affected Sandy. You also didn't mention the effects of warmer air temperatures on a storm's ability to hold moisture, increasing the rain dumped on a region.

What your readers should have heard is that whether or not any one storm was made worse by climate change, there is incontrovertible evidence that climate change is making our weather more extreme. Moreover, the rate at which climate change is progressing exceeds all scientific estimates. We must begin serious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if we hope to stabilize the climate. You should have encouraged readers to call the White House and ask the president to hold a summit on climate change solutions in order to educate the public and Congress on the best approaches to this critical problem

Marilyn responds:

Just one comment: The warmer-than-average coastal waters and the affect of air temperature on a storm seem more like short-term weather factors to me.
"

So Marilyn says warmer coastal waters are a short-term effect. She seems to refer to the "straw man" part of Judy's argument- warmer coastal waters in october, which indeed would be a short-term effect. What about the ocean temperatures in general?
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby robert 46 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:21 pm

mountainelm wrote:So Marilyn says warmer coastal waters are a short-term effect. She seems to refer to the "straw man" part of Judy's argument- warmer coastal waters in october, which indeed would be a short-term effect. What about the ocean temperatures in general?

Nothing short-term about it- the oceans have a huge heat capacity, so the longer they warm the longer they will stay warm. But the more interesting question is, why didn't Marilyn recognize the misuse of affect/effect? 'Affect' is a verb, and 'effect' is a noun.
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby phobos rising » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:15 am

robert 46 wrote: But the more interesting question is, why didn't Marilyn recognize the misuse of affect/effect? 'Affect' is a verb, and 'effect' is a noun.


robert 46, I don't know about the specific use of the word(s) in question
in the context of Marilyn's statement, but both "affect" and "effect"
can be verbs or nouns, depending on the context in which they are used.

Source:

http://web.ku.edu/~edit/affect.html
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby robert 46 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:16 pm

phobos rising wrote:
robert 46 wrote: But the more interesting question is, why didn't Marilyn recognize the misuse of affect/effect? 'Affect' is a verb, and 'effect' is a noun.


robert 46, I don't know about the specific use of the word(s) in question in the context of Marilyn's statement, but both "affect" and "effect" can be verbs or nouns, depending on the context in which they are used.

Marilyn wrote:The warmer-than-average coastal waters and the affect of air temperature on a storm seem more like short-term weather factors to me.

Here "the affect" identifes a noun.
Internet wrote:“Affect” as a noun means an emotional state as contrasted to a cognition. “Affect” is a dimension of behavior rather than a separate segment of it.

Which does not apply to Marilyn's response. I tend to think of the error as a passing "senior moment", with which I am occasionally familiar.
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Followup

Postby robert 46 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:16 pm

Parade wrote:ask marilyn Marilyn vos Savant March 18, 2013
Ask Marilyn: What About Man-Made Global Warming?

Pradeep Manudhane of Canton, Ohio, writes:

Marilyn: I was surprised by your response to the global warming question (January 20, 2013), particularly:

1) Your leaving out the fact that accurate weather records have been kept for only about 125 years now, whereas the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Thus, it is problematic to assert that man has caused global warming.

The increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide is clearly indicative of the effect of the Industrial Revolution.
2) You left out the fact that there were times (millions of years ago) that the Earth had more carbon dioxide than today. This points against man-caused global warming.

It is irrelevant whether the earth had more or less carbon dioxide and was warmer or colder in the past. What is relevant is the rate of change. Most species, and humanity, can cope with gradual changes in climate. It is abrupt changes which are dangerous because they do not give time to adapt. The potential for destruction of human infrastructure which cannot be replaced in a timely manner may be disastrous.
3) You didn't point out that sunspots have cycles of variable activity.

Notwithstanding, I wouldn't count on another Little Ice Age to save humanity.
4) You didn't address that the Vikings did a considerable amount of farming on Greenland about 1,000 years ago, well before man could have had an impact.

And the Western Greenland colony was apparently obliterated by climate. One failed yearly harvest could have been all it took.
Internet wrote:So what did happen to all those settlers? Earlier theories focus on a complete breakdown in the food chain caused by the climate shift and overgrazing..."

http://voices.yahoo.com/greenland-lost- ... 85525.html
Parade wrote:I have loved meteorology since childhood, but am annoyed by those who push for an extremist agenda.

One man's extremism is another man's prudence.
Marilyn responds:

Please re-read the question and answer. Neither referred to any possible contribution by humankind. They were only about whether superstorm Sandy was caused by global warming. (I believe it was probably not.)

Irrelevant whether it was caused by global warming; but whether it was intensified by global warming. A continuing succession of such disasters will deplete resources to cope with future meterological challenges.
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby Glen123 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:19 am

The Arctic aspect of this is particularly frightening. In spite of this year's failure to break a record for a new low surface sea ice extent, the long-term trends in both extent and (especially) volume loss show dramatic and exponential decline.

https://sites.google.com/site/arctische ... ome/piomas

So we will likely soon see more and more Octobers that have conditions as or more suitable to the creation of these kinds of super storms as last years' conditions that created Sandy.

The same changes seem to be in the process of fundamentally altering the entire Hadley weather cell system in the Northern Hemisphere, a development likely to fundamentally alter weather patterns, including rain distribution, over most of the world's most important agricultural areas.

Things are likely to get very ugly very quickly for nearly everyone at that point.
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby Lina12 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:38 am

Wonderful info here....
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby mikemikef » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:07 am

With increasing overall temperature is increasing ENERGY to drive increasingly variable weather. It is as simple and complex as that. The total sum of all those more energetic molecules will increase the results we see, hear and feel.
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby harry56 » Sun May 28, 2017 12:54 am

Let me suggest a more rigorous approach to the "Cats" puzzle, looking at each step individually and considering all possible scenarios:


สมัครบาคาร่า
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Re: Was Superstorm Sandy Caused by Global Warming?

Postby romanze7 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:39 am

So we will likely soon see more and more Octobers that have conditions as or more suitable to the creation of these kinds of super storms as last years' conditions that created Sandy.
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