(Image source: NOAA)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


Climate change might not have been mentioned in any of the presidential debates, but with Sandy making landfall many news outlets are taking the opportunity to raise the issue. A meteorologist tells Democracy Now!...

“Climate change has become the new Voldermort of our times  — that which cannot be named. … I see Superstorm Sandy here as kind of a wake up call.”

But for something no one can talk about, there sure are a lot of media outlets talking about it — enough that three distinct categories have emerged.

The first group have an almost “We told you so” feel, implying Sandy is a direct result of political inaction on climate change. An editor-at-large for Foreign Policy writes:

“Sandy will do more to draw attention to issues of climate change than all the candidates running for every office in the United States during this election cycle have done.”

But others are taking a more cautious approach, saying blaming Sandy on climate change isn’t so cut and dry.

Like a writer for NPR, who says: “sticking to the science means it is still hard to point to an individual storm and say, yes! Climate change!”

An analyst for the BBC explains why.

“The oceans are getting warmer, but a lot of other factors come into play. So the scientific jury is out as to whether climate change is causing more hurricanes.”

A different editor for Foreign Policy quotes an MIT climate scientist, who says storms like Sandy haven’t been studied enough to understand their relationship to climate.

Finally, there’s the more nuanced third group, trying to split the difference. A writer for Scientific American says even without a direct link, you can still argue that Sandy is climate change’s baby.

“For example, the oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms. And the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture, which is drawn into storms and is then dumped on us. These changes contribute to all sorts of extreme weather.”

And a writer for the Washington Post goes meta on the whole issue.

“The endless debates about whether this or that particular hurricane can be blamed on global warming are fascinating. But they can also distract from the more basic fact that our cities and infrastructure are quite vulnerable to future temperature increases and sea-level rise.”

There are several ways scientists say climate change could affect hurricanes in the long run, including more frequent small storms, less frequent big storms and in a few unlucky areas big storms more frequently.

Climate Change and Sandy: Are the Two Connected?

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Oct 30, 2012

Climate Change and Sandy: Are the Two Connected?

(Image source: NOAA)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


Climate change might not have been mentioned in any of the presidential debates, but with Sandy making landfall many news outlets are taking the opportunity to raise the issue. A meteorologist tells Democracy Now!...

“Climate change has become the new Voldermort of our times  — that which cannot be named. … I see Superstorm Sandy here as kind of a wake up call.”

But for something no one can talk about, there sure are a lot of media outlets talking about it — enough that three distinct categories have emerged.

The first group have an almost “We told you so” feel, implying Sandy is a direct result of political inaction on climate change. An editor-at-large for Foreign Policy writes:

“Sandy will do more to draw attention to issues of climate change than all the candidates running for every office in the United States during this election cycle have done.”

But others are taking a more cautious approach, saying blaming Sandy on climate change isn’t so cut and dry.

Like a writer for NPR, who says: “sticking to the science means it is still hard to point to an individual storm and say, yes! Climate change!”

An analyst for the BBC explains why.

“The oceans are getting warmer, but a lot of other factors come into play. So the scientific jury is out as to whether climate change is causing more hurricanes.”

A different editor for Foreign Policy quotes an MIT climate scientist, who says storms like Sandy haven’t been studied enough to understand their relationship to climate.

Finally, there’s the more nuanced third group, trying to split the difference. A writer for Scientific American says even without a direct link, you can still argue that Sandy is climate change’s baby.

“For example, the oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms. And the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture, which is drawn into storms and is then dumped on us. These changes contribute to all sorts of extreme weather.”

And a writer for the Washington Post goes meta on the whole issue.

“The endless debates about whether this or that particular hurricane can be blamed on global warming are fascinating. But they can also distract from the more basic fact that our cities and infrastructure are quite vulnerable to future temperature increases and sea-level rise.”

There are several ways scientists say climate change could affect hurricanes in the long run, including more frequent small storms, less frequent big storms and in a few unlucky areas big storms more frequently.

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