31 October 2012 – From Atlantic Wire: Superstorm Sandy is being dubbed the “storm of the century”. But then Irene last year was called the “storm of the century.”
And obviously, a century hasn’t passed since that destructive storm hit (some called her impact on New York City lackluster even though she wrecked Vermont), and yet again the United States’s East Coast is bracing for another “storm of the century” which is, according to CNN’s early estimates, supposed to cost in the $15 billion range.
So yeah, we risk getting redundant especially when there’s 87 years or so left in this century.
But the scary thing out there isn’t annoying journalists hyping every hurricane like mad, but rather that storms like Sandy will be more commonplace. And instead of being a “storm of a century” Sandy and “storms of the century” like it, could be storms we could start seeing more and more of. Though scientists don’t really want to go out on a limb linking extreme weather to climate change—NPRs’ Adam Frank goes into this brilliantly—they are pretty clear on one thing:
Oceans Are Getting Warmer. That means hurricane season is getting longer: “When you heat the oceans more, you extend the length of hurricane season,” Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters (seriously, go read his stuff) told Democracy Now.
“There’s been ample evidence over the last decade or so that hurricane season is getting longer—it starts earlier, ends later. You’re more likely to get these sort of late October storms now,” he adds. As NPR’s Frank explains, a warmer ocean means more evaporation, and evaporation means more storms. According to an MIT study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, scientists found a connection between warmer years and strong hurricanes. In that same vein, warmer oceans give storms like Sandy more energy to sustain themselves.
And it just so happens that in the first six months of 2012, sea surface temperatures on the Northeast Continental Shelf experienced record highs.
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