After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in Atlantic City, N.J. the previous Monday, the intensification of storms has brought climate change back to media forefront. Publications as varied as The New York Times to the Huffington Post have reported on correlations between Sandy and the changing climate.
When category one Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic coast, a synergistic effect through land and ocean currents amplified this already abnormal storm’s destruction. Coastal lands in the New York City tri-state area are below sea level, a characteristic that intensifies flooding. In combination, New Jersey and New York form a right angle, creating a counterclockwise force – adding to the creation a super-storm, Nicholas Coch, professor at CUNY Queens College said.
Hurricane Sandy changed public awareness of climate change.
As the presidential race has come to a close, both Republican and Democratic candidates have failed to mention climate change, The Stumpie-Standard reported. Groups, such as Bill McKibben’s 350.org, took to social media websites to protest this oversight. A movement on Twitter named the dissent “#ClimateSilence” to get voices heard across the globe.
The extensive destruction of Hurricane Sandy—flooding, power outages, and casualties—brought public awareness to extraordinary weather. “The storm and the destruction it left in its wake have dominated news coverage, transfixing the nation and prompting the [presidential] candidates to halt their campaigning briefly,” The New York Times reported.
This awareness instantly became correlated to the impending power of climate change. Dubbed the “frankenstorm,” Hurricane Sandy’s abnormal strength caused some to look toward climate change as an explanation. In a letter in response to Andrew Revin’s Dot Earth blog, Dan Miller, an engineer and climate change venture capitalist, wrote to the public, “Do you really think the fact that waters are warmer and atmospheric moisture content is higher now due to manmade global warming…may be less of an influence on Hurricane Sandy?”
This recent disaster, added to reemerging awareness of climate change, has caused a critique of the presidential platform issues. Michael Bloomberg, in an editorial for Bloomberg View, wrote, “Our climate is changing, and while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it may be – given the devastation it is wrecking – should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”