Arctic ice loss amplified Superstorm Sandy violence

Mar 05, 2013 by Blaine Friedlander
Arctic ice loss amplified Superstorm Sandy violence
Professor Charles Greene connects Superstorm Sandys to the severe loss of summertime Arctic sea ice.

(Phys.org) —If you believe that last October's Superstorm Sandy was a freak of nature—the confluence of unusual meteorological, atmospheric and celestial events—think again.

Cornell and Rutgers researchers report in the March issue of Oceanography that the severe loss of summertime —attributed to greenhouse warming—appears to enhance jet stream meandering, intensify mass invasions toward middle latitudes, and increase the frequency of atmospheric blocking events like the one that steered Hurricane Sandy west into the densely populated New York City area.

The article, "Superstorm Sandy: A Series of Unfortunate Events?" was authored by Charles H. Greene, Cornell professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and director of Cornell's Ocean Resources and Ecosystems program; Jennifer A. Francis of Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and ; and Bruce C. Monger, Cornell senior research associate, earth and atmospheric sciences.

The researchers assert that the record-breaking sea ice loss from summer 2012, combined with the unusual observed in late October, appear to be linked to global warming.

A strong atmospheric, high-pressure blocking pattern over Greenland and the northwest Atlantic prevented Hurricane Sandy from steering northeast and out to sea like most October hurricanes and tropical storms from the Caribbean. In fact, Sandy traveled up the Atlantic coast and turned left "toward the most populated area along the eastern seaboard" and converged with an extratropical cyclone; this, in turn, fed the weakening Hurricane Sandy and transformed it into a monster tempest.

Superstorm Sandy's extremely low atmospheric pressure and the strong high-pressure block to the north created violent east winds that pushed storm surge against the eastern seaboard. "To literally top it off, the storm surge combined with full-moon high tides and huge to produce record high water levels that exceeded the worst-case predictions for parts of New York City," write the researchers.

Greene, Francis and Monger add: "If one accepts this evidence and ... takes into account the record loss of Arctic sea ice this past September, then perhaps the likelihood of greenhouse warming playing a significant role in Sandy's evolution as an extratropical is at least as plausible as the idea that this storm was simply a freak of nature."

Explore further: NASA sees Genevieve squeezed between 3 tropical systems

Related Stories

Arctic ice melt sets stage for cold weather

Jun 06, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans might think. That's because melting Arctic sea ice can trigger a domino effect ...

Recommended for you

NASA sees Genevieve squeezed between 3 tropical systems

5 hours ago

The resurrected Tropical Depression Genevieve appears squeezed between three other developing areas of low pressure. Satellite data from NOAA and NASA continue to show a lot of tropical activity in the Eastern ...

User comments : 28

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

triplehelix
2.1 / 5 (22) Mar 05, 2013
Evidence?

Did these people run many analyses on hurricanes without large metling arctic ice for repeatability and replicability? Did they underpin the exact variables and can re-produce it?

No?

Then it isn't real science,

Next.
gmurphy
3.6 / 5 (16) Mar 05, 2013
@triplehelix, read what the article actually says, at no point do they authoritively declare that Sandy was definitely amplified by arctic ice loss, they simply assert, based on the observed evidence that the *idea* that Artic melting played a role in the Sandy storm is at least as plausible as the idea that this storm was simply a freak of nature. If you had read the article instead of skimming the title, you would look like less of a denialist fool.
Maggnus
4.1 / 5 (13) Mar 05, 2013
Did these people run many analyses on hurricanes without large metling arctic ice for repeatability and replicability? Did they underpin the exact variables and can re-produce it?


Thought all the models were flawed anyway? Also can't tell from the article whether or not they did any. But go ahead, dismiss it based on the title.

Then it isn't real science,

Next.


Guess it must the a conspiracy these 3 scentists are involved in. You know, with all dem dere other SCIENTISTS all CONSPIRATORING togeather and stuff.

Might want to go brush your tooth.
Shootist
1.8 / 5 (16) Mar 05, 2013
Evidence?

Wishful thinking, or willful ignorance?

"The polar bears will be fine." - Freeman Dyson
Lurker2358
2.5 / 5 (12) Mar 05, 2013
Dr. Kerry Emanuel did a computer analysis and other analysis on Sandy and found that it was NOT a "Black Swan" storm.

This means it was within statistical long-term climatological norms.
Maggnus
3.8 / 5 (10) Mar 05, 2013
Dr. Kerry Emanuel did a computer analysis and other analysis on Sandy and found that it was NOT a "Black Swan" storm.

This means it was within statistical long-term climatological norms.


And? So?

These three just did a detailed analysis that suggests it may have been the result of some unusual patterns which might be related to severe ice loss in the Artic. Don't see anything where they say it's not within statistical norms. Do you always just make stuff up to provoke a responce?

Oh and look, there's Shootist reading the headline and the first comment and thinking he is looking all smart and everything by parroting someone else. SO cute, makes me want to give him a treat and scritch him behind the ear!
The Alchemist
1 / 5 (6) Mar 06, 2013
So these storms are causes by the heat flux from the equator to the poles. If the seas were colder from sea ice, then definitely the heat gradient was larger, and so the storm more powerful. The claim of GW being the cause is a good one, heat melts ice, causing the fatigue to break off chunks more rapidly, which melt more rapidly. It's not the whole story, like the article states, but it is hardly controversial either.
I bet we could quantify it, if we put our minds to it-any takers?
Let's not go crazy on the phenomenology though, Sandy was an extreme anomaly, not the rule. In general there will be more less extreme storms, rather than these perfect storms.
And yet anther effect worth mentioning is the hot weather conditions we had before it, pushing arctic cold down from the North.
It really is marvellous how it all fits together.
triplehelix
1.3 / 5 (12) Mar 06, 2013
Science is about repeatability, reproducability, replicability, predictive power, and the ability to on demand, reproduce results again and again. When any other scientist wants to be published they have to get sometimes thousands of data plots all within a certain error.

Environmental science take one incident, look at a variable, see a correlation, and then ASSERT it is the case (assert is the same as stating it is definite).

Correlation does not equal causation.

"Guess it must the a conspiracy these 3 scentists are involved in. You know, with all dem dere other SCIENTISTS all CONSPIRATORING togeather and stuff. "

What on earth are you talking about? No conspiracy is needed here. Most research science requires funding, and guess what? Results get you more funding. What gets funding "arctic ice melting isn't causing hurricanes" or "arctic ice melting caused a super massive freak of nature hurricane".

No conspiracy, just lots of competition for funding.
triplehelix
1 / 5 (10) Mar 06, 2013
"And? So?

These three just did a detailed analysis that suggests it may have been the result of some unusual patterns which might be related to severe ice loss in the Artic. Don't see anything where they say it's not within statistical norms. Do you always just make stuff up to provoke a responce?"

Please learn science. You can NOT take ONE observation, with a ONE off variable occurrence and state this could be a related causal relationship...

You have 1 person taking 1 homeopathic remedy and gets well. Was it the water, or placebo? Or naturally getting better?

Trick question, the answer is get 1000 people in a double blind parallel placebo controlled trial to extinguish all extraneous variables. Arctic ice is one of THOUSANDS of variables. Unless you can remove those variables and repeat the experiment, you cannot deduce TRUE statistical strengths of particular variables. These studies are not real science. Imagine if CERN found ONE data plot and declared it Higgs boson.
triplehelix
1 / 5 (11) Mar 06, 2013
Also, to alleviate any misunderstanding, when I say repeat, I do NOT mean models, I mean literal experiments with continued repeat testing, removing or taking into account every other variable, and ensuring nothing extraneous is not being calculated or miscalculated.

Of course, this is impossible because we only have 1 planet and can only observe what happens. We still can't force results like we can with physics, chemistry, and most biology. Which is kind of my point. If you cant on demand force a result by manipulating variables, then you obviously don't have a full answer or understanding of the variables, otherwise it would be easy to force whatever result you want - every other science can do this.

Models are just repeated calculations we make manually. If any of the variables within the model are wrong, then it is wrong...Garbage In, Garbage Out. I can make a model based on a correlation of squirrel population and HIV prevalence. This doesn't mean it is true....
djr
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 06, 2013
triplehelix - "No conspiracy, just lots of competition for funding."

Not one of the tens of thousands of scientists doing the research on the climate is smart enough to realize - 'if I fudge the research - later on my fraud will be identified by the process of science - and I will be humiliated by my colleagues.' You obviously do not know any scientists triple. They are a prickly bunch - and do not take kindly to scientific fraud - or pseudoscience. Read a blog like pharyngula - and see what they do to the medical pseudoscientists like homeopothists. Yes - your bizarre rantings do require a global conspiracy in order to be valid.
Maggnus
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 06, 2013
Environmental science take one incident, look at a variable, see a correlation, and then ASSERT it is the case (assert is the same as stating it is definite


That you could state this and not choke on your own lie says much for your constitution, if nothing else. I assert you are a fool.

And as is typical you assert there is no conspiracy, then go on to assert how funding depends on researchers finding pre-set results.

Now let me go slowly here for you. You just asserted a conspiracy.

Your twists and contortions would make a boneless yogi proud!

And you tell me to learn science! Laughable from one as gullible as you appear to be.
VendicarE
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 06, 2013
Then I guess, astronomy, biology, medicine, and quantum mechanics are not science.

"Science is about repeatability, reproducability, replicability, predictive power, and the ability to on demand, reproduce results again and again" - TripleTard

I laugh when people who know nothing about science tell me what it is.
VendicarE
3.8 / 5 (6) Mar 06, 2013
Yes. Of course, it is a pre-requisite.

Whenever I submit something to be published they always ask me

"Where are your thousands of data plots within a specific error."

"When any other scientist wants to be published they have to get sometimes thousands of data plots all within a certain error." - TripleTard

It is unlikely that TripleTard will ever graduate from high school.
VendicarE
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 06, 2013
The fact that correlation isn't defined for a single variable doesn't seem to phase the TripleTard.

"Environmental science take one incident, look at a variable, see a correlation" - TripleTard

His cranial fecal shield keep him warm, cozy and immune to reality. He can also grow a full crop of potatoes under his hat.
VendicarE
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 06, 2013
Other than correlation what else is needed to assert causation?

"Correlation does not equal causation." - TripleTard

Here in the real world what is required is a physical theory connecting the correlated variables.

Since the mid 1800's spectrascopy has provided the physical theory of CO2 enhanced global temperature.

Are you still living in the early 1800's?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) Mar 06, 2013
A cat 5hurricane hit the area in 1938.
http://en.wikiped...urricane
deepsand
2.2 / 5 (12) Mar 07, 2013
A cat 5hurricane hit the area in 1938.
http://en.wikiped...urricane

Is that what destroyed your intellect?
deepsand
2.1 / 5 (11) Mar 07, 2013
Science is about repeatability, reproducability, replicability, predictive power, and the ability to on demand, reproduce results again and again.

triplehelix seems to be saying that Einstein, along with countless other giants of Science, was a fraud.
triplehelix
1 / 5 (9) Mar 07, 2013
Then I guess, astronomy, biology, medicine, and quantum mechanics are not science.

"Science is about repeatability, reproducability, replicability, predictive power, and the ability to on demand, reproduce results again and again" - TripleTard

I laugh when people who know nothing about science tell me what it is.


Those sciences are repeatable, replicable and demonstrable and reproducable.

I'm a professional scientist, these things are key to any experiment or any data in science. Hell a simple wikipedia read through will tell you this. 5th grade science classes tell you this. If you don't know this by now then you have serious issues, or you're an environmental scientist, same thing.
triplehelix
1 / 5 (9) Mar 07, 2013
Science is about repeatability, reproducability, replicability, predictive power, and the ability to on demand, reproduce results again and again.

triplehelix seems to be saying that Einstein, along with countless other giants of Science, was a fraud.


Einsteins work is repeatable, reproducable, demonstrable, and replicable, so no, I am not saying this. You're talking bullshit.

Oh also

"Since the mid 1800's spectrascopy has provided the physical theory of CO2 enhanced global temperature.

"

1.Its spectroscopy
2.A physical known that CO2 is a warming gas does not mean CO2 causes global warming. Unless you think local laws apply to global laws? Isn't it quantum physics that proves classical physics wrong when things get very small?

You're assuming a perfect scaling, and that CO2 is the ONLY variable, it is not.

I can see I am simply being ganged up by a bunch of idiots pretending to know science.
triplehelix
1 / 5 (9) Mar 07, 2013
Environmental science take one incident, look at a variable, see a correlation, and then ASSERT it is the case (assert is the same as stating it is definite


That you could state this and not choke on your own lie says much for your constitution, if nothing else. I assert you are a fool.

And as is typical you assert there is no conspiracy, then go on to assert how funding depends on researchers finding pre-set results.

Now let me go slowly here for you. You just asserted a conspiracy.

Your twists and contortions would make a boneless yogi proud!

And you tell me to learn science! Laughable from one as gullible as you appear to be.


I think you need to find the meaning of the word conspiracy. It is very well known the sciences are poorly funded and that conclusions are worded as such to try and best achieve more funding. It's why every day there's news of miraculous things and you never hear of them again, because it was simply exxagerated claims.
djr
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 07, 2013
triple: "I can see I am simply being ganged up by a bunch of idiots pretending to know science."

I don't pretend to know science - in the sense that I am not a practicing scientist - and only have a very basic education in the hard science disciplines (bio 101) etc. I don't think you need to have a Phd, and be a practicing scientist to understand this situation. When all the Phd's, and the scientists in a particular discipline are saying X, and almost all of the research being reported on sites like Physorg are supporting X, and the scientists that I know - are also supporting X, but every article on the web about X, is immediately spammed by pretty much the same individuals - arguing that X is not true - I am going to go with X. Same idea when I get sick - I go to the doctor, ask her opinion, and do what she tells me to do. Calling me and idiot does not bother me in the least - my wife calls me much worse every day.
Maggnus
5 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2013
I'm a professional scientist


I doubt that very much.

I think you need to find the meaning of the word conspiracy. It is very well known the sciences are poorly funded and that conclusions are worded as such to try and best achieve more funding.


And you say you are a "professional scientist". If you do this, then you are a fraud.

The fact that you don't know what a conspiracy is dos not change the fact that you alledge a conspiracy. C'mon give your head a shake! Wording your findings to put them in their best possible light in an effort to continue receiving funding is light years away from fraudulently reporting false findings. People go to jail for the latter.

Ask (formerly) Dr Wakefield. If the guards will let you.

Of course, you probably think his research was legit.
deepsand
2.7 / 5 (14) Mar 07, 2013
Science is about repeatability, reproducability, replicability, predictive power, and the ability to on demand, reproduce results again and again.

triplehelix seems to be saying that Einstein, along with countless other giants of Science, was a fraud.

Einsteins work is repeatable, reproducable, demonstrable, and replicable, so no, I am not saying this. You're talking bullshit.

Einstein's work was THEORETICAL. He did absolutely none of the things that you insist are necessary of a true scientist.

Were you actually a "professional scientist" as you claim, this is something that you would be expected to know. Looks like it is you who is "talking bullshit," in more ways than one.
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (5) Mar 11, 2013
Tripleheilx: You state:

"A physical known that CO2 is a warming gas does not mean CO2 causes global warming. Unless you think local laws apply to global laws? Isn't it quantum physics that proves classical physics wrong when things get very small?"

It is apparent that you have no idea of either quantum mechanics or climate. Quantum Electrodynamics are applicable at scales of atoms and photons. Weather and Climate are applicable at scales of meters (or larger). When a climate scientist is talking about the scale of their measurements it is normally km while a physicist talks about nm when looking at QED. CO2 interaction with photons then exchanging energy with the environment is QED scale. The gross behavior of the statistical ensemble is the macro effect studied by engineers and climatologists. That change in scales is how we produce effects on all scales.
anti-geoengineering
1 / 5 (5) Mar 11, 2013
Sandy was a geoengineered storm (just 1 of many recently),with help from nexrad.There is way too much evidence to deny it.Do a little research and you will see it.
deepsand
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 11, 2013
Sandy was a geoengineered storm (just 1 of many recently),with help from nexrad.There is way too much evidence to deny it.Do a little research and you will see it.

Your brain has been addled by too much exposure to radar beams.

Do a little research and you will see it.