Sandy and its Climate
Climate change connection of hurricanes
are more in debate these days after the shocking ravages of Sandy,
judged by scientists to be one of the most powerful hurricanes.
“Scientists still point several ways in which the storm may have been
exacerbated by climate change. Year-after-year of rising sea
levels—caused by climate change due melting glaciers and the fact that
warmer waters actually expand—certainly added to Sandy's devastating
storm surge, which hit 14 feet in some places. A warmer ocean also
results in increased evaporation, leading to heavier precipitation.
Combining the sea level rise with more precipitation probably resulted
in a double-whammy for coastal flooding,” says Jeremy Hance of
environmental news portal Mongabay.com adding that “higher oceanic
temperatures and more precipitation may increase the intensity of some
hurricanes. In fact, recent science shows that while hurricanes in
general may occur less often due to climate change, particularly intense
ones, like Sandy, are expected to occur more frequently in upcoming
decades. Temperatures over the Atlantic Ocean were 3 degrees Celsius
(5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above average during the reign of Sandy.”
It’s also believed that the route of sandy
hurricane was pushed by a rare blocking pattern—an unmoving block of
atmosphere pressure—near Greenland which pushed Sandy westwards into New
Jersey and New York. According to recent researches, this could be well
connected to warming and sea ice loss in the Arctic. “Usually a
hurricane like Sandy would move out eastwards and perish over the ocean,
but this one was steered directly into the coast. Much more research on
this theory is needed, but it may be that Arctic sea ice loss—which hit
a new record low this year—could have helped form the blocking pattern
that brought Sandy along its unusual course,” writes Jeremy Hance.
Supporting the climate change link of
super storm Sandy, Scientists like Stefan Rahmstorf, professor of
physics of the oceans at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact
Research says, as quoted by Reuters, "there is reason to suspect that
there could be a connection between the record sea ice loss this summer
and the path of this storm."
However, increase in frequency and
intensity of low pressures resulting in more powerful storms in the
coastal areas has been predicted by many scientists before and the
phenomenon has been physically established in many parts of the coastal
Climate Change now a Political subject
Never before a phenomenon like storm was
qualified to feature as a priority in political and media debates as was
Sandy. Hitting the American coasts just days before the 2012
Presidential election, the storm prompted president Barrack Obama to
talk about climate change. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also,
endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term, citing the importance
of addressing climate change in the aftermath of the devastating impact
of tropical storm Sandy.
So, global warming, sea level rise and
climate change have now made themselves serious political topics than
just environmental concerns and the 2012 presidential elections of USA
raised fresh hope in direction of building atmosphere for a greener
politics than just green industrialisation and development.
The topic is expected to go beyond debates
and to encourage more activism to build pressure on the political
leadership and, particularly, on Obama administration to take a clear
stand on the subject and initiate action.
"One year ago we surrounded the White
House to ask President Obama to be the leader we hoped for. Now is his
chance to live up to our highest expectations. We can't afford anything
less," 350.org, an influential climate group wrote to supporters giving
a call that said, "We're not going to wait for him to come around
either—if we want change, it comes from us. And it is coming."
So, during his second term, Obama is going
to face more pressure from climate activists. And, this time, most of
the common Americans would also support the campaigners as more such
disasters in America are already predicted by many of the research
groups. Even though it was one of the ravaging super storms, Sandy
contributed enormously to include Climate change in the US political
agenda! It's just to be seen if Obama or US administration takes lessons
from Sandy and works to address the issue.