On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck land and sent many communities, especially those in New Jersey and New York into a whirlwind of destruction (quite literally). Although New Jersey and New York are the most talked about states that were impacted, there were more than a dozen states that felt at least some of Sandy’s destruction. Sandy was not only a hurricane, but also a post-tropical cyclone that was the cause of 117 deaths in the US and 69 between Canada and the Carribean. Sandy hit hard with strong winds, heavy rain fall, and storm surges, making this the second most expensive disaster in the US, right behind Hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, it took many lives and billions of dollars before some people began to open their eyes to global warming as a cause of such destruction.
Hurricane Sandy is a prime example of how climate change is affecting our world today, and can and will lead to much more damage to our earth if we don’t begin to fix the problem. Some scientists claim that the temperatures of the surface of the sea on the east coast caused a larger percentage of water vapor. Thus, the storm was able to produce more rain which made the flooding of the storm more destructive. This temperature change also led to a rise in sea level as there was a 13.2 foot storm surge in New York which intensified the storm even more. Furthermore, the temperature increase in Greenland and the Arctic caused a dramatically larger sea ice and glacier melting rate. The melting of these glaciers is said to have created a high-pressure system that blocked the North Atlantic and consequently pushed the hurricane toward the East Coast. Clearly, Even small changes in temperature, which may seem insignificant can cause dramatically dangerous effects to our planet.
This process can be seen in the image below:
As you can see, the effects of global warming can include more common storm surges, slower jet streams that block incoming weather for a long time, and more active and intense storms. Ultimately, the more the temperature rises on earth, the more intense the storms will become as a result of higher temperatures, loss of ice, and rising sea levels. While Scientists can’t say that global warming is definitely the cause of Hurricane Sandy, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence proving that it is at least a factor.
Unfortunately, there are still many skeptics in the world who believe otherwise. Hopefully it won’t cost our planet even more destruction for everyone to open their eyes to this obvious problem. But, until then we must continue our research and note the connections between global warming and the deterioration of our planet in hopes of saving our wonderful planet earth from total destruction.