The Norman Transcript


November 11, 2012

Sandy latest warning that climate change must be addressed



The influence of global warming can be seen in the circumstances that have come together to make Sandy one of the most destructive storms on record. This link has been made by Dr. Jennifer Francis, research professor at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University.

“Warm ocean temperature is one of the main ingredients necessary for tropical storms to form and survive, so the fact that the oceans, in general, are warming and that sea-surface temperatures are now at an all-time record high off northeast North America suggests that any late-forming storms that move up this way, like Sandy, should be able to survive longer and track farther northward,” Francis said.

A rapidly warming Arctic, punctuated by record loss of sea ice this year, also has weakened the jet stream’s west winds in the Northern Hemisphere, creating waves that go farther north and south, Francis said: “As those waves get larger, they tend to move more slowly, which means the weather associated with them also moves more slowly ... leading to increased chances of the types of extreme weather associated with ‘stuck’ weather patterns.”

In other words, global warming puts more energy into these storms by warming the oceans. And September had the second highest global ocean temperatures on record.

Global warming in general has put our climate on “steroids,” making disasters like Sandy more likely to happen. We have already seen this in Oklahoma with a record number of weather-related disasters last summer. The federal crop insurance payments — again, taxpayer dollars — for last year were at record levels because of the worst drought in 50 years across two-thirds of the nation.

“This is a wake-up call for the next Congress to pass meaningful climate legislation,” said Mark Reynolds, Citizens Climate Lobby director.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014