Yes, Climate Change Caused Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has ripped away any lasting doubt among scientists that climate change is causing an increasing number of natural disasters. Scientific American explains that Sandy got so large because the cold jet stream dropped down into the storm system and pushed more energy into her.

But there’s climate change, without a doubt, also played a big role:

The atmospheric pattern that sent the Jet Stream south is colloquially known as a “blocking high” -- a big pressure center stuck over the very northern Atlantic Ocean and southern Arctic Ocean. And what led to that? A climate phenomenon called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) -- essentially, the state of atmospheric pressure in that region. This state can be positive or negative, and it had changed from positive to negative two weeks before Sandy arrived. The climate kicker? Recent research by Charles Greene at Cornell University and other climate scientists has shown that as more Arctic sea ice melts in the summer -- because of global warming -- the NAO is more likely to be negative during the autumn and winter. A negative NAO makes the Jet Stream more likely to move in a big, wavy pattern across the U.S., Canada and the Atlantic, causing the kind of big southward dip that occurred during Sandy.

But that’s not all -- warmer oceans also undoubtedly contribute by giving more energy to storms. The earth’s atmosphere is warmer too, meaning it holds in more moisture which is drawn into storms then poured out onto us when the storm hits.

James Hansen affirmed the link very strongly in a recent op-ed:

Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.” He went on to write that the Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 could each be attributed to climate change, concluding that “The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.

So there you have it. If you had any doubt who was to blame for Sandy -- and big storms past and those to come -- you can put that to rest now. [Scientific American]

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    The sky is falling ! The sky is falling ! No shortage of chicken littles here..........

      no shortage of trolls either..

    Look through the history books storms of this intensity have hit the area before. Also the severity of the storm was greatly increased by the fact that there was a full moon and high tide greatly increasing the height of the storm surge. throughout history the earth has gone through climate cycles and we are just in the middle of one such cycle.

    Last edited 31/10/12 9:44 am

      Ah yes, the scientists don't know what they're talking about! I'll believe the uninformed prattle of some guy over experts in their field any day of the week!

      The earth has indeed gone through many natural cycles, but this one is accelerating much faster than any of those. We are seeing in 10 years the kinds of changes that used to take a hundred years to happen. But don't take my word for it - there are people like the ones quoted in this article who have studied these phenomena for their whole adult lives. Surely when they're worried we should be worried too? It's just common sense. If I was diagnosed with a diesease by a doctor, I wouldn't wave his advice away with a flippant "I've always had a natural cycle of getting sick then getting well again, this is no different". This IS different, because the guys with the letters after their names are the ones who get to make that call.

        Well the first scientist in the article may be accurate, but the second one is just clutching at straws to try and prove a point. I thought we had all decided that Climate Change was a combination natural and man made event, it happens, we make it slightly worse (which may be enough to tip the balance). Every time it is one degree hotter than average or there is a storm well that's climate change. When it is cooler and the skies are clear, not a mention. While climate change may cause inclement weather in some areas, it would contribute to better weather in others. Our climate has always been changing, maybe it is moving quicker now, but to blame all the earths woes on it is just taking responsibility away from those that have been given the power and money to do something. Here's a thought, screw trying to fix the climate for now, how about we focus on pollution reduction for our own health reasons, then that may in turn help with the climate.

          "While climate change may cause inclement weather in some areas, it would contribute to better weather in others"

          You're absolutely right! So if we can just move everyone on the planet inland about 50 metres, shift a few hundred million people from newly created deserts to "better" locations it won't be a problem.

          What are people worried about??


          (And let's just do that in say... 50 years... rather than the 1000+ years it would normally take for the climate to change significantly. As you say... this is about ACCELERATED climate change. It is a potential disaster that will lead to famine, drought and territorial disputes based on existing national borders.)

        At last someone with a bit of common sense. Of course climate change is real and affecting climate now. I think the yanks got off very lightly with Sandy.

        Because doctors never make mistakes do they. My uncle was told by several doctors he had a simple migraine. That migraine was a brain tumour that soon after killed him. We're all human, we falter so excuse me if I don't jump up and swallow everything I hear.

        But back on point, I won't go as far to say that our impact on this planet has been insignificant. I do however disagree with the scare mongering surrounding climate change and the eagerness to blame it for every spot of bad weather that takes place.

        I guess the city of Pompei should have invested in more hybrid cars. One extreme statement deserves another.

      No one is saying that storms, or events of the same magnitude haven't happened before, or that there isn't climate cycles.

      What they are saying, is they are happening more frequently across various areas, above what such a cycle would dictate.

      If you want to dispute that, you would have to ignore all the significant natural disasters recently observed, and how much more frequent they have been across the globe.

      No. It's unprecedented, Sandy is the largest storm in recorded history.

      But don't let the facts get in the way of a good Troll.

    Lies perpetuated by zionist reptilians

      Painting all the conspiracy theorists with Icke's crazy brush serves only to inflate your ego.

    Someone show this to that conservative fool Andrew Bolt please...

      By "climate change" I suppose you really want to say "global warming" but were too afraid to use that tem as

        (stupid computer) By "climate change" I suppose you really want to say "global warming" but were too afraid to use that term as THE WORLD HAS STOPPED WARMING FOR 17 YEARS

          That's just factually wrong, 1995 was significantly cooler, look at the NASA data:

          Except that's a load of rubbish.

      Andrew Bolt; ignore that idiot, let him choke on his own hyperbole

    at least its better than what this guy thought was causing it...

      As soon as it hit I told my partner to watch out for hicks blaming gays, abortion and Obama.

    they always forget about that big shiny hot thing in the sky called the sun................

      That's not even remotely true:

        Take the sun out of the equation and see how your global warming works

          Climate models that include just natural variations like the sun, volcanos, etc. doesn't match real recorded temperatures, however climate models that include those variations AND human intervention DO match the real temperature record.

            Your argument is flawed, because its a recorded fact that global temperature increases have PRECEDED Co2 increases, not the other way around. It was in Al Gores movie, but everyone failed to see that fact. What is fact is, Co2 rises have always preceded spikes in solar activity. High solar activity warms the oceans, which contain 12%-15% Co2 trapped at great depths by numerous ice ages. So global warming goes like this. High solar activity, rise in ocean temperature, releasing trapped Co2, increasing global ambient temperatures. Ask a cosmologist what they think about global warming, not a geoscience dropout who gets paid by the government to say things like "Brisbane will run out of drinking water within 20 years" and receiving government funding for his geothermal power plant. If you want to quote figures, at least add all the variables that contribute to the earths climate, not the ones paid for by a highly corrupt UN committee extorting money for science. One more fact. The earths climate has always been changing. The past 700 years have been the most stable. The previous 4 billion haven't been so friendly.

            Last edited 31/10/12 6:38 pm

              Nice one. It's all about the money and how to extract as much as possible from us peeps. If you ever watched Hungry Beast it used the premise of "following the money trail". Gillard drove another tax on us using this Global Warming hype. Same story with the billions of dolars spent on anti-vaccines for the swine/bird/bogsbollox flu.

              kr00, "Ask a cosmologist what they think about global warming"? That's expertise in the wrong field. You wouldn't go to a biologist for advice on building a bridge, or a quantum physicist for advice on your tax, or a computer programmer to help with your medical problems. You would go to the person with the relevant expertise.
              prehistorically temperature did indeed slightly precede co2. warming causes additional Co2 and methane emissions, it's a potentially dangerous feedback effect.

        You want us to believe that a 0.0006% increase on CO2 has a bigger impact on the earths temperature than a 2-3% increase in Solar output?

        Please provide you source.

          co2 is at 395 ppm, it was 280 ppm before industrial times. That isn't a 0.0006% increase, you're making shit up.
          You want sources, how about these


          And every other scientific body of any standing in the frigging world:

          No source needed as it (what I thought to be) common knowledge that not only CO2 is a contributing factor to the destruction of the ozone layer, but other such gasses as methane and nitrous oxide. In addition these gasses, while release in lesser quantities, have a greater effect per volume.

    So what if this is the biggest storm in 100 years?

    So what about in the last 200 years? 300? 500? Climate scientists frequently use very small sample data. 100 years is nothing.

      Mm.. think I see your point. So what if climate change cause an extinction of life, there will be other spices that will appear on the planet.. its only that humans might no longer exist, but heck we shouldn't even try and do any thing about it.. let us ignore the experts in the field. ;-)

        Yep, the experts in this field who have all the financial gain to keep this crap going.

        It has been warmer in the past 3000 years than today, and it has also been colder. While polution makes this a shittier planet to live on and might poison the world around us, anthrapogenic climate change is a massive load of crap.

        Thats why whales beach themselves they are trying to evolve legs

    So even if there is climate change happening are we 100% sure that it is man made?

    And if it is - how will the funds raised by a Carbon Tax in Australia be used to prevent further change?

      lol, how can you be unsure if its not man made... We throw massive amounts of green house gases into the air by burning fossil fuels and cutting down tree's that store carbon.

      The way i see it is, distancing ourselves from a fossil fuel burning future is a good thing regardless of climate change because ultimately fossil fuels run out... So we should be trying to adapt to a greener future because even if you dont believe in climate change its still a better outcome.

        Greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 0.0006% in the last 1000 years. Yet you propose that this has a bigger effect on our weather than the suns output varying by 2-3% every 11 years?

        Co2 makes up 0.039445 % of total atmospheric gases. Man produces 3% of that 0.039445%. If you pissed in a pool, would it raise the temperature of the pool? Would it change the Ph? This is exactly what climate alarmists are trying to put forward. The Sun has THE most impact on our planet. Without it, we die. It is what creates winds on earth. One day it will destroy the planet. The past 10 years have seen the most solar activity recorded by man, but this variable is ALWAYS left out of the IPCC reports. Why? You have to question what you believe to make it believable in the first place.

        Last edited 31/10/12 7:06 pm

      I'd imagine the funds raised by the Carbon Tax in Australia, would be used through various initiatives, compensation mechanisms and investments (as outlined ironically in millions of pages of print floating around on the thing), to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions across various industries (through both, the tax influenced changes in behaviour, and the revenue associated with the tax being reinvested into various initiatives to reduce emissions).

      And yes, before someone mentions, but the changes to taxation and compensation etc. offsets the cost. That's true, it does. However, where the policy design is actually quite intelligent, is that behavioural economics shows that individuals place greater value on losses than gains. (Do you remember being ripped off by 10 dollars more than finding 20 dollars on the ground in the street?)

      In effect, people will still change behaviour, because they think they are worse off, when they are actually better off.

      As for climate change and man made influences. In short, there is a pretty large consensus that it is influenced by human activity. Even from a simplistic perspective, how could it not be?? There's 7 billion off us eating, drinking, farting and humping day to day on this celestial hunk of rock.

        Funny how you use no rational sources to back up your ideology. A trick of the mind won't change how people act. Leading by example does. Your beloved government is more than happy to spend $46 billion on faster internet, but not one cent in building solar farms, wind farms or any other alternate to coal fired power. They expect private enterprise to do that. It should have been the same for the NBN. If the government REALLY believed in saving the planet from climate change, why then are they scrapping subsidies to solar panel rollout? Crap, thats all it is. $11 billion taken out of the publics pocket to prop up the deficit, and call it a carbon tax. A tax never fixed any social issues. EVER!!

      This opinion is what makes me see red.

      Scientists debate left and right over whether climate-change is man-made or not, but this isn't the point... We certainly aren't helping our species survive long-term, never mind the mass-extinction that is happening right now, by doing what we are doing. And standing back saying "Well, it's not our fault" won't help us keep the planet we have.

      Doing nothing is about the only thing we can do that's wrong, regardless of who or what the cause is.

      And from a purely economical stand-point, if we sent the country bankrupt for 5 years but the end result was we had all our countries energy needs covered for the next 100 years with no more green-house output, isn't that worth it? I'd argue hell yes it is. It's an investment in securing the future when oil runs out, which is going to happen.

      I say bring on the carbon-tax now. A bit of extra pain now might be the difference between Australian prosperity or poverty in the future.

        Yeah ask Spain and Greece what its like to be set back a few years with bankruptcy sure you got some fanboys there

      @rtsclement - "how will the funds raised by a Carbon Tax in Australia be used to prevent further change?"

      The carbon tax works by making carbon more expensive. It does not have to collect any revenue at all to work. As long as you charge for carbon you can happily distribute the proceeds amongst the users.

      As for effect, recent reports show that carbon output due to electricity consumption has actually dropped. The Carbon Tax worked.

        The trouble is that there was an article in the paper just today indicating that increases in the cost of living are being more than offset by wage increases - so in fact all we have done is promote inflation. Climate change is a subject that seems to polarise opinion in a similar way to opinion - personally I put solar panels on my roof long before there were real benefits to do so because I believe we should be kinder to the environment - full stop. That said I am not convinced that climate change is man made - or that if it is we can tax the clock back. If we are going to raise taxes in the name of climate change we need to 1) make sure that the money doesnt sneak into the general revenue pot and 2) use the money to mitigate the effects of climate change, Mitigation is something we CAN control - even at a local level.

      "And if it is - how will the funds raised by a Carbon Tax be used to prevent further change?"

      Rock solid argument. The reality is the money is going to build a giant ice block to cool the planet down.

      Or in reality, the tax isn't designed to generate money. The tax is designed to disincentivise destructive and outdated methods of generating energy and consuming resources. When polluting is more expensive than being efficient capitalistic organisations suddenly see the value in it. The money gained was largely redistributed back to households and used for infastructure improvements

    exactly just pure arrogance on man's behalf thinking he can fix the weather

      WTF are you dribbling on about , who mentioned fixing the weather dork?

      Just like all that arrogance demonstrated in all of Humanities other achievements?

      fix it ! control it ! does it matter cant be done

        Clearly paying the tax on our carbon dioxide emissions stopped this hurricane from coming to Australia!

        ...phew thanks Julia!

      It's just as arrogant to say that the super-consumer society we live in with all the waste and inefficiencies built in for profit and pleasure aren't making it worse.

      We might not be able to fix the weather, but we can certainly do what we can to not make it worse

        sure but lets not kid yourself into believing the carbon tax will help us achieve that goal it will only go into helping the government deficit

          I hate the idea of the government using taxes to try and fix problems.

          BUT, i do believe eventually the carbon tax will do some good. At work we are already seeing a lot of our clients change their mentality and trying to do things in a greener way. The only reason they are doing that is because they dont want the carbon tax hitting them hard!

    I like to think of this situation as precursor to the unity of man kind.. when there is a common threat people might rally together to find a solution and the cause

      You got to give me something better than the weather than that to get me warm and fuzzy about unity ???

        Perhaps rajabey isn't completely worried about whether or not you'll be there?

        What the fuck makes you think anything here is said for your satisfaction?

    Governments cant even balance the economy let alone the weather

    (stupid computer) By "climate change" I suppose you really want to say "global warming" but were too afraid to use that term as THE WORLD HAS STOPPED WARMING FOR 17 YEARS AS CO2 CONTINUES TO RISE. Follow the data wherever it may lead - as Andrew Bolt does. And I haven't even mentioned the Medieval Warm Period, wait, yes I have!

      I'm not entirely convinced that it's your computer that's the stupid one Ron :P
      The term "climate change" encompasses aspects of climate other than temperature, for instance precipitation. The term "global warming" refers merely to one aspect of climate, the temperature. There's no conspiracy or fear behind the terminology, you're just being silly.
      The medieval warm period has KNOWN causes, plus it effected only a small part of the world. It doesn't disprove current anthropogenic climate change.

        Talk about a each way bet ! what is getting warmer or colder??

    So, this article states "Yes, Climate Change Caused Hurricane Sandy."
    But t article you linked to says "Did Climate Change Cause Hurricane Sandy?"
    Turning a question into a stated fact?

    And what, theres one big storm and suddenly its all because of climate change?
    Here, I want to sell you this rock. It keeps tigers away.

      not the bloody rock line much for your rock?

        I hope its the new iRock. I'd line up for a week for that.

    Here are some facts:

    1. It is in our best interests to make sure the planet is as healthy as possible.
    2. One of the best ways of doing that is by reducing the amount of human-made pollutants released into the environment.
    3. Even if climate change *were* a scam or a natural process, points 1 and 2 are valid.

    Does anyone disagree? If so please respond, I'm curious as to why.

    I still fail to see why it matters whether climate change / global warming is real and/or if it was caused by humans. It shouldn't have any bearing on us being responsible.

    Two words: ICE AGE.
    Did Dinosaurs invent massive snow-spewing refrigeration machines? Maybe the aliens did...

    i'm sorry but until the day they can accurately predict the weather for tomorrow i will not believe them about global warming.

    "Homer: Oh Lisa! There's no record of a hurricane ever hitting Springfield.
    Lisa: Yes, but the records only go back to 1978 when the Hall of Records was mysteriously blown away."

    Do you have a rock at ATTRACTS tigers? Now that's something I'd buy!

    New poll at
    Do you believe climate change was a factor in the size and ferocity of Sandy?
    Yes 28.72% (511 votes)
    No 66.67% (1186 votes)
    Undecided 4.61% (82 votes)
    Total votes: 1779

    A very nice quote from someone on twitter.
    Everyone acknowledges that Sandy was disastrously bad. Only people with agendas pretend it's unique, unprecedented, or the worst.

    clearly the world is still full of idiots who can't see their hand in front of their face. The debate should not be one whether or not climate change is real, but how do we combat it. If you do your homework you will quickly find it is real enough, unless of course you only want to reinforce your narrow world view and take any shred of evidence, no matter how skewed/biased/false it really is

      Combating the problem mmmm ! Try shaking your fist at the sky that should work, good as anything the government will do about it

    If global warming causes more storms, then what about the fact that the planet has experienced no global warming since 1998 ?

    Must mean that climate change is not driven by human emissions.

    I very much doubt the idea that storm frequency and severity has increased in recent years, there are dozens of papers which also challenge this idea using raw data.

    What has changed is that quite a few recent major storms have hit largely populated areas and with the advent of digital cameras and the internet, images of these storms and the human perceptions about their severity have increased.

      You're pointing at the hottest 14 years in human history as a demonstration of how much the temperature isn't rising; that doesn't make you look smart.
      1998 was an anomalously hot year, using that as your baseline is super misleading. Also, the temperature HAS gone up since 1998, especially if you take ocean temperature into account:

        What would heat a saucepan of water faster? Holding a hairdryer over it for a day, or putting it out in the sunlight? The sun will heat an ocean. Warm air won't. Think about it. The oceans release Co2 when heated, and absorb gases when they cool. The only thing that can warm a deep, dark ocean, is the penetrating rays of the thing called the sun. Increase the intensity of those rays, increase the rapidity of that release. Think cosmically, not globally.

    Way too many comments....

    Chuck Climate change in your heading and you get all the comments your server can handle....

    This is a single weather event... sure its had, but not unique, any more than any other weather event is unique...
    Today it is climate change, when it happens again next week, it will be Judgement day....

    Remember the world is full of Quacks and Experts.... They all sound the same... Can't tell them apart until you see one of them is a goose.... don't know which one most of the time....

    (I love all these Climate scientists.... who have apparently been climate scientists since the 1970's.. when climate science didn't exist before the 90's 9I may be soo wrong, but that's it.....

    So those who have been climate scientists all their adult life are often less than 30.. that is a long like with loads of experience.... The others who claim to be climate scientists, have changed their spots (Job titles) more times than you have your Jocks... Its all about keeping the title current to get what little (sic) funding is available.

      md, Climate science has a history of more than a hundred years, so yeah, you're fractally wrong.

        Thankyou.... Nice reading from the left wing.... 20 20 HIndsight is good...

    OK, since we're all quoting Skeptical Science, let's just have a look at what they say about hurricanes and intensity. Quick search finds: . So, what does one of the premier advocate sites for anthropogenic global warming say when asked "What is the link between hurricanes and global warming?".


    Not "yes", not "no", but we don't know for sure. The evidence is thus far inconclusive. They even quote the IPCC "There is no clear trend in the annual numbers [i.e. frequency] of tropical cyclones.".

    I get that the belligerent, aggressive defence of remaining ignorant of evidence that in another domain would be regarded as tantamount to deliberate self-harm is frustrating. But it doesn't help to try and stretch the evidence to support a proposition it can't. It actually helps the anti-AGW cause, because they'll latch onto any inconsistency as a mechanism for increasing the view that the science is not decided on issues where the evidence really is basically irrefutable.

    Bottom-line: climate science is about patterns, and one incident - regardless of how incredible and history-making it is - doesn't a pattern make. Sadly, what the science does support is that we can expect more Sandy-level hurricanes. And more often.

    I hope all you skeptics are planning to buy coastal property's to leave to your kids? Yes climate change is very real and some of the major influences haven't come to the fore! There is not a lot of mention of Methane. With the permafrosts melting, oceans warming and man's eagerness to mine CSG " A clean alternative" we in 10- 15 years will see a expedential acceleration of global warming, there is no doubt of this, and we, like it or not, have passed the tipping point. All for the dollar and to keep clean technologies in the background.

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