Hurricane Sandy's huge size: freak of nature or climate change?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:10 PM GMT on November 13, 2012

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Hurricane Sandy was truly astounding in its size and power. At its peak size, twenty hours before landfall, Sandy had tropical storm-force winds that covered an area nearly one-fifth the area of the contiguous United States. Since detailed records of hurricane size began in 1988, only one tropical storm (Olga of 2001) has had a larger area of tropical storm-force winds, and no hurricanes has. Sandy's area of ocean with twelve-foot seas peaked at 1.4 million square miles--nearly one-half the area of the contiguous United States, or 1% of Earth's total ocean area. Most incredibly, ten hours before landfall (9:30 am EDT October 30), the total energy of Sandy's winds of tropical storm-force and higher peaked at 329 terajoules--the highest value for any Atlantic hurricane since at least 1969. This is 2.7 times higher than Katrina's peak energy, and is equivalent to five Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. At landfall, Sandy's tropical storm-force winds spanned 943 miles of the the U.S. coast. No hurricane on record has been wider; the previous record holder was Hurricane Igor of 2010, which was 863 miles in diameter. Sandy's huge size prompted high wind warnings to be posted from Chicago to Eastern Maine, and from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Florida's Lake Okeechobee--an area home to 120 million people. Sandy's winds simultaneously caused damage to buildings on the shores of Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and toppled power lines in Nova Scotia, Canada--locations 1200 miles apart!

Largest Atlantic tropical cyclones for area covered by tropical storm-force winds:

Olga, 2001: 780,000 square miles
Sandy, 2012: 560,000 square miles
Lili, 1996: 550,000 square miles
Igor, 2010: 550,000 square miles
Karl, 2004: 430,000 square miles



Figure 1. Hurricane Sandy’s winds (top), on October 28, 2012, when Sandy was a Category 1 hurricane with top winds of 75 mph (this ocean surface wind data is from a radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Oceansat-2.) Hurricane Katrina’s winds (bottom) on August 28, 2005, when Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane with top winds of 175 mph (data taken by a radar scatterometer on NASA’s defunct QuickSCAT satellite.) In both maps, wind speeds above 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour are yellow; above 80 kph (50 mph) are orange; and above 95 kph (60 mph) are dark red. The most noticeable difference is the extent of the strong wind fields. For Katrina, winds over 65 kilometers per hour stretched about 500 kilometers (300 miles) from edge to edge. For Sandy, winds of that intensity spanned an region of ocean three times as great--1,500 kilometers (900 miles). Katrina was able to generate a record-height storm surge over a small area of the Mississippi coast. Sandy generated a lower but highly destructive storm surge over a much larger area, due to the storm's weaker winds but much larger size. Image credit: NASA.

How did Sandy get so big?
We understand fairly well what controls the peak strength of a hurricane's winds, but have a poor understanding of why some hurricanes get large and others stay small. A number of factors probably worked together to create a "prefect storm" situation that allowed Sandy to grow so large, and we also must acknowledge that climate change could have played a role. Here are some possible reasons why Sandy grew so large:

1) Initial size of the disturbance that became Sandy was large
Sandy formed from an African tropical wave that interacted with a large area of low pressure that covered most of the Central Caribbean. Rotunno and Emanuel (1987) found that hurricanes that form from large initial tropical disturbances like Sandy did tend to end up large in size.


Figure 2. The initial disturbance that spawned Sandy, seen here on October 20, 2012, was quite large.

2) High relative humidity in Sandy's genesis region
The amount of moisture in the atmosphere may play an important role in how large a hurricane gets (Hill and Lackmann, 2009.) Sandy was spawned in the Caribbean in a region where the relative humidity was near 70%. This is the highest humidity we saw during 2012 during the formation of any Atlantic hurricane.

3) Passage over Cuba
Sandy struck Cuba as an intensifying Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. While the core of the storm was over Cuba, it was cut off from the warm ocean waters surrounding Cuba. Most of Sandy's large circulation was still over the ocean, though, and the energy the storm was able to extract from the ocean went into intensifying the spiral bands over water. When Sandy's core re-emerged over water, the hurricane now had spiral bands with heavier thunderstorm activity as a result of the extra energy pumped into the outer portion of the storm during the eye's passage over land. This extra energy in the outer portions of Sandy may have enabled it to expand in size later.

4) Interaction with a trough of low pressure over the Bahamas
As Sandy passed through the Bahamas on October 25, the storm encountered strong upper-level winds associated with a trough of low pressure to the west. These winds created high wind shear that helped weaken Sandy and destroy the eyewall. However, Sandy compensated by spreading out its tropical storm-force winds over a much wider area. Between 15 and 21 UTC on October 25, Sandy's area of tropical storm-force winds increased by more than a factor of two.

5) Leveraging of the Earth's spin
As storms move towards Earth's poles, they acquire more spin, since Earth's rotation works to put more vertical spin into the atmosphere the closer one gets to the pole. This extra spin helps storms grow larger, and we commonly see hurricanes grow in size as they move northwards.

6) Interaction with a trough of low pressure at landfall
As Sandy approached landfall in New Jersey, it encountered an extratropical low pressure system to its west. This extratropical storm began pumping cold air aloft into the hurricane, which converted Sandy into an extratropical low pressure system, or "Nor'easter". The nature of extratropical storms is to have a much larger area with strong winds than a hurricane does, since extratropical storms derive their energy from the atmosphere along a frontal boundary that is typically many hundreds of miles long. Thus, as Sandy made landfall, the hurricane's strongest winds spread out over a larger area, causing damage from Indiana to Nova Scotia.

Are we likely to see more such storms in the future?
Global warming theory (Emanuel, 2005) predicts that a 2°C (3.6°F) increase in ocean temperatures should cause an increase in the peak winds of the strongest hurricanes of about about 10%. Furthermore, warmer ocean temperatures are expected to cause hurricanes to dump 20% more rain in their cores by the year 2100, according to computer modeling studies (Knutson et al., 2010). However, there has been no published work describing how hurricane size may change with warmer oceans in a future climate. We've seen an unusual number of Atlantic hurricanes with large size in recent years, but we currently have no theoretical or computer modeling simulations that can explain why this is so, or if we might see more storms like this in the future. However, we've seen significant and unprecedented changes to our atmosphere in recent decades, due to our emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. The laws of physics demand that the atmosphere must respond. Atmospheric circulation patterns that control extreme weather events must change, and we should expect extreme storms to change in character, frequency, and intensity as a result--and not always in the ways our computer models may predict. We have pushed our climate system to a fundamentally new, higher-energy state where more heat and moisture is available to power stronger storms, and we should be concerned about the possibility that Hurricane Sandy's freak size and power were partially due to human-caused climate change.

References
Emanuel, K. (2005). Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature, 436(7051), 686-688.

Hill, Kevin A., and Gary M. Lackmann (2009), "Influence of environmental humidity on tropical cyclone size," Monthly Weather Review 137.10 (2009): 3294-3315.

Knutson, T. R., McBride, J. L., Chan, J., Emanuel, K., Holland, G., Landsea, C., ... & Sugi, M. (2010). Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nature Geoscience, 3(3), 157-163.

Rotunno, R., & Emanuel, K. A. (1987). An air–sea interaction theory for tropical cyclones. Part II: Evolutionary study using a nonhydrostatic axisymmetric numerical model. J. Atmos. Sci, 44(3), 542-561.

The Atlantic is quiet, but a Nor'easter expected next week
The Atlantic is quiet, with no threat areas to discuss. An area of low pressure is predicted to develop just north of Bermuda on Wednesday, and the GFS model predicts that this low could become a subtropical cyclone as moves north-northeastwards out to sea late in the week.

The long-range models are in increasing agreement that a Nor'easter will develop near the North Carolina coast on Sunday, then move north to northeastwards early next week. High winds, heavy rain, and coastal flooding could affect the mid-Atlantic coast and New England coasts next Monday and Tuesday due to this storm, but it appears likely that the Nor'easter will stay farther out to sea than the last Nor'easter and have less of an impact on the region devastated by Sandy. Ocean temperatures off the coast of North Carolina were cooled by about 4°F (2.2°C) due to the churning action of Hurricane Sandy's winds, but are still warm enough at 22 - 24°C to potentially allow the Nor'easter to acquire some subtropical characteristics. I doubt the storm would be able to become a named subtropical storm, but it could have an unusual amount of heavy rain if it does become partially tropical. The Nor'easter is still a long ways in the future, and there is still a lot of uncertainty on where the storm might go.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting BioChemist:
How has Dr. Masters, in just a couple years gone from saying that you cannot blame single events on global warming (with an emphasis on saying that you cannot use cold snaps to disprove it) to now actually blaming "Hurricane Sandy" on GLobal warming?

Since the Hurricane became so large because it interacted with the trough and became a Nor'easter. All the reasons he gave had nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with the presence of other systems and the physics of the Earth's Rotation?

His views are becoming more and more radical all the time.

If you cant use a cold snap to disprove GW, then how can you use a Hurricane to prove it? It seems a little disjointed?



This is from Dr. Master's blog " we should be concerned about the possibility that Hurricane Sandy's freak size and power were partially due to human-caused climate change." Note the words possibility and partially due to. No one is using Sandy to prove anything, but instead saying it is possible that Sandy was influenced by GW. That is a very important distinction, especially in science.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2692
Some mention that we should escape nature's wrath but that is highly unrealistic...

Also, amazing how people become oversensitive here the moment Climate Change is mentioned... As far as I'm concerned, I have nothing to argue about, because I know it's happening.

In any case, I think we can all agree that the weather (climate is weather over-time) will always change. Patterns we were so used to before, are rapidly changing, and will undoubtedly continue to change into the future. Even if--or more precisely, when--we cease all fossil fuel emissions, world weather patterns will continue to change naturally (and unnaturally) just as they always have. We will continuously adapt to those changes just as we are doing this very moment. Of course, now, we need to adapt at an alarming rate because the climate is changing at an unprecedentedly rapid rate but, the way I see it, it provides us with solid experience in infrastructure and so forth.

What I'm trying to say is we won't ever be able to escape nature's wrath, but only adapt to it.
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Quoting MontanaZephyr:
Hurricane Sandy: beware of America's disaster capitalists

Link

Interesting article. Sample quote:

"For a long time, climate change was treated by environmentalists as a great equaliser, the one issue that affected everyone, rich or poor. They failed to account for the myriad ways by which the super rich would protect themselves from the less savory effects of the economic model that made them so wealthy. In the past six years, we have seen in the US the emergence of private fire fighters, hired by insurance companies to offer a "concierge" service to their wealthier clients, as well as the short-lived "HelpJet" – a charter airline in Florida that offered five-star evacuation services from hurricane zones. Now, post-Sandy, upmarket real estate agents are predicting that back-up power generators will be the new status symbol with the penthouse and mansion set."
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
A question, from a historical perspective. From the wunderground Weather History blog:

The Great Storm of October 29, 1693: Virginia to Long Island

A tremendous storm, possibly tropical in origin, changed the course of rivers and modified the coastline from the Delmarva Peninsula to Long Island. It is believed that Fire Island (just east of New York City) was bisected by the storm. The same apparently occurred to many coastal portions of the Delmarva Peninsula and region around Chesapeake Bay.

----------

This hit on the same calander day as Sandy and sounds much more severe.

It also hit a long, long time before the onset of the industrial revolution.

So IMO that makes the argument that Sandy was triggered or affected by global warming harder to make. When you have a precendent from outside the era of human-added CO2, hitting at exactly the same time of year in the same region, it shows that natural forces alone are capable of triggering such an event.
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How has Dr. Masters, in just a couple years gone from saying that you cannot blame single events on global warming (with an emphasis on saying that you cannot use cold snaps to disprove it) to now actually blaming "Hurricane Sandy" on GLobal warming?

Since the Hurricane became so large because it interacted with the trough and became a Nor'easter. All the reasons he gave had nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with the presence of other systems and the physics of the Earth's Rotation?

His views are becoming more and more radical all the time.

If you cant use a cold snap to disprove GW, then how can you use a Hurricane to prove it? It seems a little disjointed?

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Quoting TropicTraveler:


In Louisiana after Huricane Isaac, there are those in Plaquemines and St John the Baptist Parishes who would argue with you about how bad Isaac was. Their homes too were totally underwater. Hundreds of thousands of acres of marsh grass in big slimy piles, filled with dead animals and living snakes. Chemical spills, Power out. But you get the picture. These people had not built near the shore and had never before been flooded. When one of these storms come along it's a news wonder for a few days and people are left to clean up for years. Let's don't forget the struggling citizens of Louisiana in our zeal to help those equally struggling citizens of the Northeast. God bless you all.

I was amazed at a recent satellite picture showing how the land alongside the river below English Turn has disappeared. I grew up in Louisiana and know that all the maps used to show marsh across large areas that are now open water. People may have not built near the shore, but I think the shore has come to them.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
Quoting AussieStorm:

Why are you not pushing your local/state/federal govt to do something about changing from gas to something more environmentally friendly. You seem to know what your talking about. Instead of just talking about it here, why not kick it up a notch and get pushing.




In early November 2012, a wintery nor%u2019easter followed on the heels of Hurricane Sandy. When that second storm cleared out of the region, it left behind snow stretching from New Jersey to Massachusetts. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA%u2019s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color view of the region on November 9, 2012.

The logical place to push is at the ballot box, but when it is political suicide for a candidate to offer a choice on the matter, work has to continue on educating the public as well as exposing corruption and hypocrisy.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
Quoting LargoFl:
..somehow a huge change needs to happen, I know its unpopular, but trillions could be saved if we closed all our over seas bases, brought our troops home etc, we cannot keep protecting the world..we are BROKE..the russians found out the hard way and did the smart thing..THEY retreated home and stopped the huge expense of paying for troops and bases far from home...we now..need to do it also..i know its a hard choice and tempers will flare..but we are broke and cannot afford to keep business as usual.
There are things we can do to decrease expenses overseas and increase programs here at home that are not only beneficial, but would serve our country and its infrastructure in a positive way. We have already spent enormous amounts on war and the fight against terrorism. I should mention it isnt cheap bringing military installations back home, but it will happen..jmo
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People have the right to rebuild, but the States and Nation should have the prudence not to reinsure expensive homes constructed in flood zones and on beaches. Especially structures without strengthened damage reduction measures included in the reconstruction methods.

Buy reconstruction bonds!
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Quoting hydrus:
I would be lying if I said that I was not worried. We knew even before 1989 that if the US. kept being affected by natural disasters at the pace we were at or higher, there would be serious repercussions to the countries economy and its people...Not to mention the ripple effect around the globe.
..somehow a huge change needs to happen, I know its unpopular, but trillions could be saved if we closed all our over seas bases, brought our troops home etc, we cannot keep protecting the world..we are BROKE..the russians found out the hard way and did the smart thing..THEY retreated home and stopped the huge expense of paying for troops and bases far from home...we now..need to do it also..i know its a hard choice and tempers will flare..but we are broke and cannot afford to keep business as usual.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33375
Quoting LargoFl:
yeah, we are in for something we may never have seen before..a full blown economic collapse sometime in the near future..to me these times are real scary huh hydrus..before with hugo they have had the money..today they are broke and will have to borrow yet more money..gee..if i ran my household budget like they run the fed..i'd be losing my house already
I would be lying if I said that I was not worried. We knew even before 1989 that if the US. kept being affected by natural disasters at the pace we were at or higher, there would be serious repercussions to the countries economy and its people...Not to mention the ripple effect around the globe.
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Quoting hydrus:
We were sayin things like this back in 89 after Hugo and the earthquake.
yeah, we are in for something we may never have seen before..a full blown economic collapse sometime in the near future..to me these times are real scary huh hydrus..before with hugo they have had the money..today they are broke and will have to borrow yet more money..gee..if i ran my household budget like they run the fed..i'd be losing my house already
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33375
Dirty weather, dirty water

Global climate disruption messes with our water. As sea levels rise, we get more water in the places we don’t want it. But what about the water we do need? Scientists are finding that the impacts of climate change make freshwater inhospitable for fish and wildlife.

It starts with dirty energy — the fossil fuels that pollute the atmosphere. Dirty energy leads to dirty weather — more frequent and more extreme floods, storms and droughts. As storms become more intense and frequent, sewers overflow — washing sediment, pollutants and nutrients into our rivers and lakes. Rising sea levels can contaminate nearby freshwater with salt.

Now, scientists at Yale have found that hurricanes and other large rainfall events may alter the water quality of rivers and lakes by transporting large amounts of dissolved organic matter (carbon and nitrogen) downstream. In moderate amounts, dissolved organic matter provides important nutrients for the base of the food chain. But in excess, this organic matter can block pathogen-killing UV light, transport metal pollutants, and potentially lead to the formation of carcinogens.

In another recent study, scientists found that warming temperatures, thawing permafrost, and lower water tables are the underlying cause for increased concentrations of heavy metals in the Snake River watershed in Colorado. The metals, which can drain out of abandoned mines or through oxidation of sulfide minerals in rocks, are recognized as one of the biggest threats to water quality in the western United States. If the levels reach toxicity thresholds, the waters may become uninhabitable to fish and toxic to humans.

Toxic metals are bad news for our water. So that’s why we need to move away from dirty energy and stop the dirty weather in the first place. Be sure to tune in on November 14 for 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report and join with millions of others across the world to learn more about how climate change is connected to extreme weather and what we can do about it.

Source
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"A warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level. At continental, regional and ocean basin scales, numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed. These include changes in arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts,heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns."
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33375
Quoting LargoFl:
I have a huge question..im asking with the fed govt 14 trillion dollars in the hole or more..WHERE is THIS money going to come from?.............Governor Cuomo To Seek $30 Billion In Federal Aid To Rebuild New York After Superstorm Sandy
We were sayin things like this back in 89 after Hugo and the earthquake.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33375
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I have a huge question..im asking with the fed govt 14 trillion dollars in the hole or more..WHERE is THIS money going to come from?.............Governor Cuomo To Seek $30 Billion In Federal Aid To Rebuild New York After Superstorm Sandy
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33375
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33375
Good morning.I know this sounds a little cold hearted.Just because Sandy has happened and peaple see more
Nor'easters on the way they start freaking out.Nor'easters are nothing new in this part of the country and people shouldn't pretend they are just because of Sandy.When we lost power up here after the derecho we were in sweltering heat and humidity and some people were without power for three weeks to a month so I can't really say I feel for those people that are in the cold.I see GW is the topic of the day.So I'm going to stay far far away.No point in blogging on a subject your not in to.Good day.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15715
Quoting weaverwxman:
You cant keep building barriers against Mom Nature You just need to respect her and move out of her way. In light of what is happening along our shores even with just astronomical high tides people need to move away or foot the bill for their rescue or rebuild.IMHO.
..good point made here, im sure after sandy, those that insist on living on the waters edge, will be getting a huge increase in insurance rates coming when they rebuild in the same spot..my hope is they make it so expensive, people there will move inland so the govt can make the shorelines park lands..but we all know it will not happen.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33375
12 mSevere Studios‏@severestudios

RT @weathernetwork: British Columbia announces new tsunami warning system: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/storm_watch_ stories3&stormfile=British_Columbia_rolls_out_new_ tsunami_alert_process_12_11_2012
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here we go again evere time we get a storm why do we all way think its about climate change


sandy has nothing too do with climate change none of are hurricanes have that made land fall had its this the way the weather works
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192HR CMC
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Hurricane Sandy: beware of America's disaster capitalists

Link
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Hurricane Sandy's huge size: freak of nature or climate change?
I would say neither in my opinion, as we've seen intense systems like Sandy become massive as they head north and begin to loose tropical characteristics. Igor in 2010, to name an example. I would also say that Cuba and other landmasses Sandy interacted with may have contributed, as we've all seen systems become larger (Isaac) when they hit land and emerge off the coast.


Actually, a reasonable hypothesis might go something like:

"Take any closed fluid system and heat unevenly and you will get more motion."

A reasonable default supposition would be that you would get more large-scale motion as well as more small and mid scale motion.

That may not, in the end be true, but it is a reasonable and testable default assumption to start with.

Anyone out there with some glitter and a flask of water, some motion detection equipment and some software that can crunch a whole bunch of curves?

Experiments in a variety of closed fluid systems and with a variety of closed fluids should reveal some general properties, one of which might be a tendency to larger-sized discrete 'fluid particles' with relatively greater energy input levels.
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Good Morning..

I see the letters for today are G and W so I will make this brief..

HurricaneTrack.com

You have got to be kidding me? Another powerful storm possible for Northeast next week?

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Regarding the First World's responses to AGW and how they might affect the rest of the world, Sen. Lindsay Graham, speaking on another topic, had a few choice words that I think are applicable: "It's one thing to shoot yourself in the foot. Just don't reload the gun." This could be seen as an appropriate caution to those who advocate protecting ourselves against the effects of climate change without reference to the needs of the other 5/6ths of the people of the Earth.
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meh. foget the sea wall.. just convert the bottom 2 floors of every building in potential surge areas to allow water to flow throw unhindered. subways are another story of course...
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Dr. Masters, with all due respect, you didn't mention the rather warm ocean temperatures under Sandy's storm track. Here's graph of SST anomalies before Sandy:

http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2012/a nomw.10.22.2012.gif

Here's the same graphic after:

http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2012/a nomw.11.1.2012.gif

That warmer than normal water fed energy into the storm as it passed above. Notice too that the Gulf Stream remained very warm after Sandy's passage. The energy in the deep Gulf Stream may have added energy and moisture to the Nor'easter which passed over the area later.
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WINTER WEATHER UPDATE
________________________

Major Storm for Adak, AK (Adak is located very close to the big L)


click the pic for a bigger pic...

HIGH WIND WARNING FOR ADAK, ALASKA

.. HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT AKST TONIGHT...

* WIND... SOUTHWEST WIND 50 TO 65 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 85 MPH.

* TIMING... THROUGH LATE THIS EVENING.

* IMPACTS... HIGH WINDS MAY MOVE LOOSE DEBRIS AND MAY DAMAGE PROPERTY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. PEOPLE ARE URGED TO SECURE LOOSE OBJECTS THAT COULD BE BLOWN AROUND OR DAMAGED BY THE WIND.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
Quoting FunnelVortex:


It seems people have already forgotten about the storm that broke up a lot of the arctic ice this summer.



??? Not sure what you mean. Are you implying British scientists are forgetful?
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There was a link in the last post, I think, to adaptive positive change in New York and the harbor that is not retreat from the ocean. A 3 part video for dealing with more frequent flooding, that was a good deal more elegant than a trail of tables in St. Marks Square. The proposed changes even help the environment too.

Check them out.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Are we not glad Isaac didn't become like Sandy? Started same area, was a comparable size, just didn't have the same conditions.


In Louisiana after Huricane Isaac, there are those in Plaquemines and St John the Baptist Parishes who would argue with you about how bad Isaac was. Their homes too were totally underwater. Hundreds of thousands of acres of marsh grass in big slimy piles, filled with dead animals and living snakes. Chemical spills, Power out. But you get the picture. These people had not built near the shore and had never before been flooded. When one of these storms come along it's a news wonder for a few days and people are left to clean up for years. Let's don't forget the struggling citizens of Louisiana in our zeal to help those equally struggling citizens of the Northeast. God bless you all.
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NASA Study Examines Antarctic Sea Ice Increases



NASA and British Antarctic Survey scientists have reported the first direct evidence that marked changes to Antarctic sea ice drift caused by changing winds are responsible for observed increases in Antarctic sea ice cover in the past two decades. The results help explain why, unlike the dramatic sea ice losses being reported in the Arctic, Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change.

Research scientists Ron Kwok of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Paul Holland of the Natural Environment Research Council's British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom, used maps created by JPL from more than five million individual daily ice-motion measurements. The data, captured over a period of 19 years by four U.S. Defense Meteorological satellites, show, for the first time, long-term changes in sea ice drift around Antarctica.

"Until now, these changes in ice drift were only speculated upon, using computer models of Antarctic winds," said Holland, lead author of the study published this week in the journal Nature Geosciences. "This study of direct satellite observations shows the complexity of climate change. The total Antarctic sea ice cover is increasing slowly, but individual regions are actually experiencing much larger gains and losses that are almost offsetting each other overall.

"We now know that these regional changes are caused by changes in the winds, which, in turn, affect the ice cover through changes in both ice drift and air temperature," he continued. "The changes in ice drift also suggest large changes in the ocean surrounding Antarctica, which is very sensitive to the cold and salty water produced by sea ice growth."

Holland said sea ice around Antarctica is constantly being blown away from the continent by strong northward winds. "Since 1992, this ice drift has changed," he said. "In some areas, the export of ice away from Antarctica has doubled, while in others it has decreased significantly."

Sea ice plays a key role in Earth's environment, reflecting heat from the sun and providing a habitat for marine life. At both poles, sea ice cover is at its minimum during late summer. However, during the winter freeze in Antarctica, this ice cover expands to an area roughly twice the size of Europe. Ranging in thickness from less than three feet (a meter) to several meters, the ice insulates the warm ocean from the frigid atmosphere above.

This new research also helps explain why observed changes in the amount of sea ice cover are so different in the two polar regions. The Arctic has experienced dramatic ice losses in recent decades, while the overall ice extent in the Antarctic has increased slightly. However, this small Antarctic increase is actually the result of much larger regional increases and decreases, which are now shown to be caused by wind-driven changes. In places, increased northward winds have caused the sea ice cover to expand outwards from Antarctica. In contrast, the Arctic Ocean is surrounded by land, so changed winds cannot cause Arctic ice to expand in the same way.

"The Antarctic sea ice cover interacts with the global climate system very differently than that of the Arctic, and these results highlight the sensitivity of the Antarctic ice coverage to changes in the strength of the winds around the continent," said Kwok.

Climate change has had contrasting impacts across Antarctica in recent decades. The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed as much as anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere, while East Antarctica has shown little change or even a small cooling around the coast. The new research improves understanding of present and future climate change. The authors note it is important to distinguish between the Antarctic Ice Sheet - glacial ice - which is losing volume, and Antarctic sea ice - frozen seawater - which is expanding.

The research was funded by NASA and the Natural Environment Research Council.

Link
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15749
Re: 22. FunnelVortex

What we call "Climate" is the statistics of weather. Thus, Climate Change implies change in the weather.
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Thank you Dr. Masters
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and some good news, IMHO:

Link
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Thanks Jeff...
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Quoting Neapolitan:
What does fairness have to do with anything? And where did you see anyone trying to use Sandy's size as evidence in support of AGW? Dr. Masters wrote an entirely truthful and logical statement:

"...we've seen significant and unprecedented changes to our atmosphere in recent decades, due to our emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. The laws of physics demand that the atmosphere must respond."

There you have it, in language so simple even a third-grader could understand it, no?

The more than 3.4 million tons of fossil fuel CO2 we humans pump into the environment each and every hour has consequences. At least part of Sandy's size, ferocity, or path may be one of those consequences.


Weather is not climate, now preach somewhere else.
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Quoting goosegirl1:
Here's an article concerning a subject discussed here
a few weeks ago:

**As rising temperatures continue to shrink the extent of Arctic summer sea-ice, there has been much speculation as to why the ice cover on the opposite side of the planet has expanded slightly in recent years. Now British scientists have found the explanation–and it’s related to climate change.**

Link


It seems people have already forgotten about the storm that broke up a lot of the arctic ice this summer.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Its not fair to use this as evidence for AGW. Have you ever heard of a little something called extratropical transition?
What does fairness have to do with anything? And where did you see anyone trying to use Sandy's size as evidence in support of AGW? Dr. Masters wrote an entirely truthful and logical statement:

"...we've seen significant and unprecedented changes to our atmosphere in recent decades, due to our emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. The laws of physics demand that the atmosphere must respond."

There you have it, in language so simple even a third-grader could understand it, no?

The more than 3.4 million tons of fossil fuel CO2 we humans pump into the environment each and every hour has consequences. At least part of Sandy's size, ferocity, or path may be one of those consequences. It's premature to state with certainty how much AGW influenced Sandy, but it's premature--and utterly illogical--to claim that it didn't affect it at all.
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Here's an article concerning a subject discussed here
a few weeks ago:

**As rising temperatures continue to shrink the extent of Arctic summer sea-ice, there has been much speculation as to why the ice cover on the opposite side of the planet has expanded slightly in recent years. Now British scientists have found the explanation–and it’s related to climate change.**

Link
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Awesome blog Doc...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
I really enjoyed this post, Dr. Masters. Thanks
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Its not fair to use this as evidence for AGW. Have you ever heard of a little something called extratropical transition?


Oh to some everything is evidence of AGW...I'm quite sure the fact that October was a cooler than normal month set them back for a bit LOL
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Its not fair to use this as evidence for AGW. Have you ever heard of a little something called extratropical transition?
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Hurricane Sandy's huge size: freak of nature or climate change?
I would say neither in my opinion, as we've seen intense systems like Sandy become massive as they head north and begin to loose tropical characteristics. Igor in 2010, to name an example. I would also say that Cuba and other landmasses Sandy interacted with may have contributed, as we've all seen systems become larger (Isaac) when they hit land and emerge off the coast.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, relocating all the nation's coastal and low-lying people, buildings, and infrastructure--New York, Boston, Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans, San Diego, Los Angeles, and so on, plus the myriad points in between--likely wouldn't cost more than, say, $50-$60 trillion. Maybe $100 trillion tops. And if you ask me, that's a small price to pay for being allowed to keep burning fossil fuel...

Why are you not pushing your local/state/federal govt to do something about changing from gas to something more environmentally friendly. Starting a local community interest group. You seem to know what your talking about. Instead of just talking about it here, why not kick it up a notch and get pushing. The more people that push for change, the harder it is for local/state/federal govt not to listen.




In early November 2012, a wintery nor'easter followed on the heels of Hurricane Sandy. When that second storm cleared out of the region, it left behind snow stretching from New Jersey to Massachusetts. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color view of the region on November 9, 2012.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15749
you are just knee slapping funny Nea
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Thanks Dr. Masters!

From the last blog:
My local forecast blog.
Have a great day everyone.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 123 Comments: 7887

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.