Martin Hoerling, who chairs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate variability research program and oversees NOAA’s Climate Scene Investigators, debunked the assertion global warming played a significant role in Hurricane Sandy.
Models Project No Change
“[N]either the frequency of tropical or extratropical cyclones over the North Atlantic are projected to appreciably change due to climate change, nor have there been indications of a change in their statistical behavior over this region in recent decades,” Hoerling told environmental writer Andrew Revkin, as reported on Revkin’s Dot Earth blog.
Hoerling noted, “In this case, the immediate cause [of Hurricane Sandy] is most likely little more than the coincidental alignment of a tropical storm with an extratropical storm. Both frequent the west Atlantic in October, … nothing unusual with that. On rare occasions their timing is such as to result in an interaction which can lead to an extreme event along the eastern seaboard.”
“Great events, like this meteorological one, can happen with little cause,” Hoerling further explained in the Huffington Post. “Individually, neither the tropical storm nor the extratropical storm that embraced it, were unusual. What makes this a rare, perhaps once in a lifetime event, is the fortuity of their timely (“untimely” as far as most are concerned who sit in harm’s way) intersection.”
The Huffington Post reported Hoerling’s colleague Randall M. Dole said the convergence of events that made Sandy a superstorm was just “random bad luck.”
Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate lined up to debunk the notion global warming was a significant factor in the development of Hurricane Sandy. On his popular “Watts Up With That?” Web page, meteorologist Anthony Watts presented a list of many such scientists, including many global warming “alarmists.”