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Hurricane Sandy: A criminal with help from an accomplice

"If (Hurricane Sandy) was a criminal case, detectives would be treating global warming as a likely accomplice in the crime. - writer Andrew Freedman from


Source: "How Global Warming Made Hurricane Sandy Worse" by Andrew Freedman on on October 31, 2012.

Notes: It will take time for scientists to try to answer, possibly even many months of research, how much influence climate change had on Hurricane Sandy's destruction.

However, in this article, science writer Andrew Freedman, points to three factors that certainly made Hurricane Sandy's destruction worse: sea level rise, abnormally warm sea surface temperatures, and an unusual weather pattern that some scientists think is the result of rapidly disappearing Arctic sea ice.

First, sea level rise.  

According to Scott Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York, "New York City saw surges approaching 14 feet – higher than for any storm in the past 400 years! Sea levels have risen over a foot in the past 100 years."  This means that climate change possibly added a foot to the record tidal surge.

Second, abnormally warm seas.

Andrew Freedman pointed out that data from NOAA showed East Coast water temperatures were unusually warm this summer and fall.  Warmer seas provide more water vapor for storms. More water vapor can result in heavy rainfall, resulting in flooding.  This offered extra fuel for Hurricane Sandy.

Scott Mandia wrote, "The warmer ocean, in essence, put a turbocharger on Hurricane Sandy's engine."

 Third, a "Blocked" weather pattern.

Freedman also wrote many scientists speculate that the record loss of Arctic sea ice in 2012 shifted global wind circulation patterns. These winds steered Sandy into New Jersey and New York, instead of normally pushing storms like this out to sea.

As a result, if police were investigating the devastated areas from Sandy as a crime scene, they might look at climate change as a willing accomplice.

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