Did Climate Change Fuel Sandy into a Super Storm?
People often get very combative, or downright arrogant when it comes to their views on global warming and whether mankind is responsible (at least in part) for the changes in our weather patterns.
But because of the sheer size and intensity of Hurricane Sandy, I had to to at least bring the subject up.
Where do I stand?
I'm not a scientist, so I can only go by what science says and the study of climate is a very complicated field, so there aren't easy answers.
The subject is so--pardon the pun--heated, that most people can't hold a civil, intelligent discussion on the topic without either running someone over in their Hummer or beating someone senseless with a copy of "An Inconvenient Truth".
So I did a little research online and here's what Scientific American's Senior Editor, Mark Fischetti said last week:
"If you’ve followed the U.S. news and weather in the past 24 hours you have no doubt run across a journalist or blogger explaining why it’s difficult to say that climate change could be causing big storms like Sandy. Well, no doubt here: it is."
"...many variables go into creating a big storm, so the size of Hurricane Sandy, or any specific storm, cannot be attributed to climate change. That’s true, and it’s based on good science. However, that statement does not mean that we cannot say that climate change is making storms bigger. It is doing just that—a statement also based on good science, and one that the insurance industry is embracing, by the way. "
But on How Stuff Works:
"Most scientists recognize that global warming does seem to be happening, but a few don't believe that it is anything to be worried about. These scientists say that the Earth is more resistant to climate changes on this scale than we think. Plants and animals will adapt to subtle shifts in weather patterns, and it is unlikely anything catastrophic will happen as a result of global warming.
Slightly longer growing seasons, changes in precipitation levels and stronger weather, in their opinion, are not generally disastrous. They also argue that the economic damage caused by cutting down on the emission of greenhouse gases will be far more damaging to humans than any of the effects of global warming."
An article called "The Science of Climate Change" says this about the subject:
"Climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.
Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 and 64 percent respectively believing in human involvement.
I think the old "follow the money" directive is a good one, and we have to look at where the cash trail is, no matter what scenario of climate change we think is likely the correct one.
What do you think?
Is mankind at least partially responsible for global warming or do our actions have negligible consequences on the climate?