Human-driven climate change is continuously influencing our weather. Andrew Freedman at Climate Central notes there are three different ways climate change might have influenced Hurricane Sandy: through sea level rise; through abnormally warm sea surface temperatures; and possibly through an unusual weather pattern influenced by a rapidly warming, melting Arctic. Rising sea level means higher storm surges and more flooding; in New York City, the record-breaking surce was nearly 14 feet. Like athletic steroids, the added heat energy in the unusually warmer east coast ocean surface waters allowed the hurricane to grow bigger, wetter and go farther. Finally, the warming of the Arctic has slowed the eastward blowing jet stream and changed its course. Federal NOAA scientist James Overland noted that the slower jet stream allowed Hurricane Sandy to make landfall. Atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis noted in September that bigger north-south undulations in the jet stream can make weather patterns persist longer. In this case, it created persistent high pressure areas that forced the hurricane into the northeastern US. Weather variability has complex origins, but continuing climate change increases the likelihood of ever more extreme and destructive weather.
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Sources and further reading:
How Global Warming Made Hurricane Sandy Worse Global warming made Hurricane Sandy more destructive through sea level rise, warmer ocean temps, and other influences. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/how-global-warming-made-hurricane-sandy-worse-15190 ; see also http://www.climatecentral.org/news/astonishing-arctic-sea-ice-melt-may-lead-to-extreme-winter-weather-14989