ASK TOM: Might we attribute Hurricane Sandy to global warming?

Dear Tom,

 Might we attribute Hurricane Sandy to global warming?

—George Dismukes


Dear George,

Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University, has been studying the impacts of climate change for many years. Speaking about Hurricane Sandy, he says: “This is definitely the kind of thing we expect to see more of in the future, but in addition, while global warming didn’t cause Hurricane Sandy, it almost surely made the impact worse. And that’s because sea level has been rising for the last century due to global warming, and when this huge storm came along … it was pushing on a sea level which was higher than it would otherwise have been. … This situation is only going to get worse.”