Coastal damage to be more common and extensive?
From The Guardian comes this news:
Marcia McNutt, who last week announced her resignation as director of the US Geological Survey, told a conference that Sandy had left coastal communities dangerously exposed to future storms of any size.
“Superstorm Sandy was a threshold for the north-east and we have already crossed it,” McNutt told the National Council for Science and the Environment conference in Washington. “For the next storm, not even a super storm, even a run-of-the-mill nor’easter, the amount of breaches and the amount of coastal flooding will be widespread.”
McNutt, a professor of marine geophysics, was careful to preface her public remarks by saying she spoke as a scientist and not an Obama Administration official. But the unusually stark warning from a departing Obama official indicates the challenges ahead in protecting American population centres from the extreme storms of a changing climate.
“Before Sandy, someone asked me what my climate change nightmare was. Before Sandy, I said it was that with the extra energy in the atmosphere-ocean system it feeds super storms that intersect mega-cities left rendered defenceless by rising seas,” McNutt said in a brief interview following her public remarks. “That is where we now are.”
here’s what we know about Sandy: sea surface temperatures in the area of the atlantic the storm transversed were some 5°F above the 30-year average, or “normal,” for late october, and with every degree of temperature, the atmosphere can hold 4% more moisture, so the storm was able to pick up more moisture & expand more than an average late october storm could…and instead of tracking into the north atlantic, as october storms normally do, Sandy was turned towards the coast by a blocking ridge of high pressure over greenland, something that occurs only 2% of the time in the fall; and as Dr Jeff Masters points out, that by contributing to a negative North Atlantic Oscillation, arctic sea ice loss can cause such blocking ridges to form…then the storm blew up to historical proportions when it joined with an arctic front created by an unusually sharp dip in the jet stream into the eastern US, that was also blocked by the same unusual high pressure ridge…