Hurricane Sandy puts Climate Change front and centre

Hurricane Sandy off the Carolinas [detail]

Watching the incredible scenes of the “Frankenstorm” that was Hurricane Sandy this week has been incredible. The destruction and damage is almost too huge to believe and my thoughts go out to everyone who has been impacted. It is equally amazing that in the end it wasn’t as big as first feared.

In the wash up there has been a renewed debate as to whether Climate Change was a cause. Mark Fischetti wrote this piece in Scientific American and Professor of Meteorology Richard B Rood wrote this for the Globe and Mail. The debate will go on but it seems more and more people are starting to see a correlation between these types of events and Climate Change.

What has changed due to Sandy is that Climate Change is now a big topic in the US Presidential Election. During the Presidential debates there was much commentary on the fact that Climate Change didn’t get a mention but now both Obama and Romney have to address it. With the election only a few days away it may not swing many voters but in a tight race anything can happen.

Whether Climate Change is caused by Nature or Humans here are some things we do know:

  • The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 290 ppm (parts per million) in 1900 to nearly 400 ppm today
  • The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for September 2012 tied with 2005 as the warmest September on record since records began in 1880
  • Australia experienced its third warmest September since records began in 1950, with the nationally averaged maximum temperature 1.94°C above the 1961–1990 average
  • In 1980-2009, Asia and the Pacific was the most disaster-afflicted region in the world, with about 45% of the reported disaster events, 85% of the resulting deaths, and 42% of the attendant economic damages (Source EM DAT)
  • Seven out of the 10 nations at greatest risk to climate change and natural disasters globally are in Asia and the Pacific

There are many more figures out there to support that change is occurring and that unless we do something to try to limit it we all will be in trouble and it is evident that the Asia-Pacific is at significant risk. So no matter if it is a natural change or impacted by humans we need to act sooner rather than later.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/8132365654/”>NASA Goddard Photo and Video</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

 



Categories: Green Zone

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