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Immediately after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast on Monday, professors from around the country turned to Twitter to place blame on man-made global warming for the storm’s size and impact.
Professor Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University, for example, tweeted about “at least 3 ways climate change has made #Sandy worse.”
She argued that a rise in sea level and ocean temperatures significantly contributed to the storm’s intensity.
Hayhoe also suggested the storms path to melting ice caps in the Arctic. “2012 record Arctic sea ice loss” is responsible for “steering #sandy into the coast instead of out to sea,” she tweeted.
We can't attribute any individual event to long-term climate change. However there are at least 3 ways climate change has made #Sandy worse:— Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) October 29, 2012
1. Sea level is 7" higher now compared to 100y ago. 2. About 15% of the unusually warm sea sfc temps fueling Sandy are result of climate chg— Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) October 29, 2012
3. did 2012 record Arctic sea ice loss contribute to huge High over Greenland, steering #sandy into the coast instead of out to sea? TBD!— Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) October 29, 2012
Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University tweeted: “Climate change [is] playing [a] role.” He contended that “record ocean warmth” was “feed[ing] these storms with energy and moisture.”
Another professor, Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona, even claimed it would be “misleading” to discuss the storm and “not mention the contribution of Anthro GW.”
Moreover, Overpeck warned that global warming “prob[ably] will fuel bigger storms” unless it is “stopped soon.”
#sandy - sorry for all RTs but it is misleading to talk about why this storm is so bad and not mention the contributions of Anthro GW!— Jonathan Overpeck (@TucsonPeck) October 30, 2012
+ #sandy point is that sea level has already gone up significantly, and will go up MUCH more unless AGW is stopped & stopped soon.— Jonathan Overpeck (@TucsonPeck) October 30, 2012
+ #sandy - plus the N Atlantic has already warmed significantly and will warm much more if AGW is not stopped - prob will fuel bigger storms— Jonathan Overpeck (@TucsonPeck) October 30, 2012
However, despite most professors placing blame for Hurricane Sandy on climate change, others disputed the charges.
Roger Pielke Jr., Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, maintained that “large, damaging storms are not unprecedented in late October.”
Large, damaging storms are not unprecedented in late October, Storm 11 ('44, ~$54B) Wilma ('05, $26B) Hazel ('54, $24B) rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/10/top-10…— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) October 29, 2012
The professor, who is also critical of the theory of man-made global warming, attacked those who are using Hurricane Sandy to make political points.
“Using Hurricane Sandy to focus policy debate on carbon emissions is just like Dick Cheney using 9/11 to focus policy debate on invading Iraq,” he tweeted.
Using Hurricane Sandy to focus policy debate on carbon emissions is just like Dick Cheney using 9/11 to focus policy debate on invading Iraq— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) October 31, 2012
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