Climate Change to Blame for Sandy
Hurricane Sandy has left considerable damage in the Northeast. Cities were flooded and left without power for days. Not to mention the rising death toll. Is climate change to blame?
Usually, hurricane season sees around 11 named storms, but the past few years we have had close to 20. Even worse, storms are coming later in the season and even after hurricane season ends.
Scientists have been warning about climate change for more than a decade, but it’s unfair to make it completely responsible for Sandy. Sometimes storms and other disasters are not caused directly by global warming. The weather is always changing, making natural disasters impossible to avoid.
Usually, storms that are heading north turn east and die off in the Atlantic Ocean without causing much harm. This time, however, the storm was traveling along a warmer-than-normal gulf stream with a strong high pressure ridge blocking Sandy in the north. The only way it could turn was inland.
Reports say that about 82 people died, 34 being from New York, but the death toll continues to rise. The past century’s sea level rise in New York left it with a higher flood than the one they faced in 1821. Some were swept away by the floodwaters or left stranded. But death is not the only damage Sandy brought. Subway trains stopped running for days, fuel shortages brought long lines to gas stations throughout the city, and about 8.5 million were left without power. Emergency utility crews struggled to bring power back to the worst hit areas. By Thursday, only about 4.7 million were still without electricity.
Sandy is only one of the many natural disasters we have had lately. Even Europe and Asia has had to face some of their own. Of course, some people continue to deny climate change being a real thing, but whatever you may believe it is difficult to argue that there has definitely been a change in weather. However, this does not mean the end of the world. It means that the planet is changing and we need to adapt and prepare.
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