Science Friday's Ira Flatow on Extreme Weather One Year After Sandy

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flooded streets, caused by Hurricane Sandy, are seen on October 29, 2012, in the corner of Brigham street and Emmons Avenue of Brooklyn NY, United States. (Shutterstock)

Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder, recently published a paper in the journal Geophysical Researcher Letters demonstrating that average summer temperatures in the Canadian Arctic are the highest in at least 44,000 years, and perhaps in as long as 120,000 years. 

"This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," lead researcher Gifford Miller wrote.

While the science behind climate change may still be controversial in some circles, as the country reflects one year after Hurricane Sandy, it's come increasingly difficult to deny that the planet is growing warmer. And while scientists are notoriously cautious when it comes to cause and effect, most experts agree that there is a link between climate change and devastating storms like Sandy.

Science Friday's Ira Flatow examines the lessons learned, and the link between climate change and extreme weather.


Ira Flatow

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja and Jillian Weinberger


T.J. Raphael

Comments [2]

M T-L from PDX OR

Ira's closer posed the question I've heard from him before: Perhaps, we as a country, should reconsider disaster insurance for people who choose to live on the coast (disaster zones).
I suggest we extend that thought & include places were there are tornadoes, hurricanes, wild fires, drought, flooding, volcanoes, smelt runs & sudden cow killing snows. I don't know anywhere in the US of A where natural disasters don't happen.
Full disclosure: I live in Portland, Ore. For YEARS I have been paying relief taxes for other people to live in the natural disaster zone of their choice. Ya'll had better pony up for me when the subduction zone 'quake hits. We only have a killer 'quake once every 300 to 900 years or so. I've been paying for field corn floods & tornadoed cows a lot longer than anyone from America's Heartland has paid to the Pacific Northwest for relief.
Just sayin': We're in it together. That's the handshake deal. It's a FEDERAL form of Government. All you Yankee Doodles out there best remember that.

Oct. 29 2013 03:45 PM

Since I wasn't born yesterday, and since my adult memory goes back, well, more than one year, I recall the following:

~We don't call it Hurricane Sandy because it wasn't a Hurricane. Actual hurricanes have hit New York throughout history, although rarely. Nonetheless, there is nothing unusual or at least unprecedented about a big storm roaring up out of the south Atlantic and hitting the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Sandy was a big storm. It wasn't historically unprecedented.

~Sandy hit the New York area at high tide, under a full moon. Those factors had a big effect on "storm surge," by coincidence. Unrelated entirely from climate change.

~In comparison to Sandy's big storm surge, any supposed increase in the mean sea level at the Manhattan battery was insignificant. "Rising sea levels" had pretty much nothing to do with whether or not the vulnerable infrastructure (made vulnerable by the human desire to build in historically unbuildable areas) was damaged, as it was.

There is another side to this story, told by a real climate scientist as opposed to an NPR/PBS lifer like Mr. Flatow:

Oct. 29 2013 02:34 PM

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