Eaarth is Bill McKibben's name for the new Earth we're creating through Climate Destabilization.

Media call the Frankenstorm Hurricane Sandy "rare", implying that it's an unusual freakish event you'll not see again soon. While the occurrence of high tide with a storm won't happen often, the other factors strengthening Sandy's destructive impact can be traced to climate change.

Climate Change Sandy Says to US, 'Take That, Idiots!'

Nathan Currier says that while "causation in complex systems is always a vastly complicated affair", just as it makes sense to say "cigarette smoking causes lung cancer" it also makes sense to say that "climate change caused Hurricane Sandy." Warmer water increased the strength of a late season storm. The impact of the loss of Summer Arctic ice on lower latitude weather is clearest just at this time of year, when refreezing releases the energy of latent heat. This decreases the temperature gradient across the US, slows the jet stream causing meanders (Rossby waves) to reach further south. One of these meanders sucks Sandy west into a dance (Fujiwhara Effect), as the two vortices merge to create a hybrid storm. Meanwhile the high pressure zone over Greenland is three standard deviations above normal, blocking the hybrid's storm movement out to sea. Blocking patterns also result from a slowed jet stream. Interactive effects of various climate change consequences are part of Eaarth's new normal.

Tags: Climate Destabilization, Eaarth, Frankenstorm, Fujiwhara Effect, Hurricane Sandy, Rossby waves, new normal climate

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Replies to This Discussion

I feared it would take some terrible storms and weather changes before people would start paying attention. The scientists have done the best they can to inform us, using graphs and charts and animated films as they explain. It seems to me "climate change denial" and "economic change denial" come from the same faulty thinking and it shows up most often in those who believe dogma. "This is the way it is; any other event is just a chance event!" That sentence should have a question mark behind it instead of being a declarative sentence. Thanks, Ruth, for your usual lucid comments. 

Thank you Ruth for this educational discussion on climate change.

Joseph Robertson at The Hot Spring Network says

This kind of interclimatic weather system convergence is the direct result of the destabilization of major climate bands, due to the steady and accelerating heating of the atmosphere.

Sandy is more than a superstorm and more than a symptom of climate destabilization; it is one of the compounding impacts that will help to alter the regional climate prognosis in ways we have little precedent for understanding. [Emphasis mine]

Superstorm Sandy: Why We Need to Go Fuel Free

So Ruth - they are claiming that Sandy is not a symptom of the climate change?

That isn't the way I read it Steph, Ruth wrote: 

"it is one of the compounding impacts that will help to alter the regional climate prognosis in ways we have little precedent for understanding. [Emphasis mine][Ruth]"

If I interpret correctly, compounding variables change in ways that give little clue as to what to predict or expect. Weather forecasters can report on what they observe, but cannot be certain on what to predict.

I know you will clear this up for us Ruth.

 

No, they're not saying its not a symptom of climate change. They're saying it's a superstorm and a symptom of climate change and also a compounding impact in its own right. In other words it's an emergent phenomenon which will alter regional climate in the future, about which we have no clue.

Any news on how the storm is affecting you all? I see all sorts of bad news about New York and New Jersey.

A 7% increase in extreme rainfall intensity for every degree increase in global atmospheric temperature, that's what a new study predicts. So a 5 °C rise will cause 35% more flooding deluges annually.

Increases in Extreme Rainfall Linked to Global Warming

The bad news: destabilization of climate; the good news: forewarned, we can be prepared. 

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