Frankenstorm predicted

OK, no one can predict a specific weather event months in advance. But what we can do is anticipate expected frequency of events. Back in February of this year, Nature Climate Change published a paper, Physically based assessment of hurricane surge threat under climate change, (PDF bypasses Nature’s paywall) that predicted more frequent storm surges for New York City thanks to the changing climate.

Here’s the abstract:

Storm surges are responsible for much of the damage and loss of life associated with landfalling hurricanes. Understanding how global warming will affect hurricane surges thus holds great interest. As general circulation models (GCMs) cannot simulate hurricane surges directly, we couple a GCM-driven hurricane model with hydrodynamic models to simulate large numbers of synthetic surge events under projected climates and assess surge threat, as an example, for New York City (NYC). Struck by many intense hurricanes in recorded history and prehistory, NYC is highly vulnerable to storm surges. We show that the change of storm climatology will probably increase the surge risk for NYC; results based on two GCMs show the distribution of surge levels shifting to higher values by a magnitude comparable to the projected sea-level rise (SLR). The combined effects of storm climatology change and a 1 m SLR may cause the present NYC 100-yr surge flooding to occur every 3–20 yr and the present 500-yr flooding to occur every 25–240 yr by the end of the century.

Think about that. Storms that used to occur every 100 years can be expected between 5 and 33 times as often.

Did Climate Change Supersize Hurricane Sandy? | Mother Jones

Did Climate Change Supersize Hurricane Sandy? asks Chris Mooney in Mother Jones.

Look. We know there’s more moisture in the atmosphere because when you warm a gas it holds more vapor. So that means there’s more precipitation when a storm blows in. And we know the sea level is rising because when you heat water, it expands. More importantly, melting ice from Greenland is pouring incredible volumes of water into the northern Atlantic. This is all elementary physics. So for anyone to argue that Sandy isn’t at least in part a product of climate change is just plain silly.