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Climate Hustle

Hurricane Sandy: Neither weather nor tide nor sea level can be legislated

Posted on 29 October 2012 by doug_bostrom

Many Skeptical Science readers are following the progress of Hurricane Sandy as it continues on a collision course with the US eastern seaboard as well as an  Arctic airmass. All of us hope for the best possible outcome for affected populations but at this point everything we know points to Sandy exacting a serious toll.

Meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters has described some of the possible economic and financial impacts of Sandy, while University of Washington meteorology researcher Dr. Cliff Mass has explored how models are being employed to predict and narrow the landfall zone of Sandy. 

Hurricane Sandy's arrival will be accompanied by a significant storm surge. This is unfortunately coincident with spring tides already bringing high water some 20% above normal, meaning that Sandy is expected to cause record coastal flooding. In a later post on his blog Dr. Masters describes the problem:

Last night's 9:30 pm EDT H*Wind analysis from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division put the destructive potential of Sandy's winds at a modest 2.6 on a scale of 0 to 6. However, the destructive potential of the storm surge was exceptionally high: 5.7 on a scale of 0 to 6. This is a higher destructive potential than any hurricane observed between 1969 - 2005, including Category 5 storms like Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Camille, and Andrew. The previous highest destructive potential for storm surge was 5.6 on a scale of 0 to 6, set during Hurricane Isabel of 2003. Sandy is now forecast to bring a near-record storm surge of 6 - 11 feet to Northern New Jersey and Long Island Sound, including the New York City Harbor. While Sandy's storm surge will be nowhere near as destructive as Katrina's, the storm surge does have the potential to cause many billions of dollars in damage if it hits near high tide at 9 pm EDT on Monday.

Climate Central provides a fascinating GIS tool called Surging Seas allowing users to explore effects of combined storm surge, tide and sea level rise on population and housing along the US coast. Early years of predictive output of this tool are dominated by "natural variability" in the form of storm surge and tides, with sea level rise (SLR) increasingly contributing as decades pass. Current storm surge predictions for New Jersey are in the range of 3 to 8 feet. Here's what Surging Seas shows us will happen with similar levels of flooding:

It's worth noting Surging Seas' presentation: this is all about probabilities, the odds of something happening in a given range of time. In the capture above we see there's approximately a 15% chance New Jersey will experience a 4' surge by the year 2020.  As years pass, probability of a given surge level being achieved increases, due to sea level rise.

When tinkering and thinking with Surging Seas, something easily overlooked becomes more obvious. A few inches or a foot or so of sea level change doesn't go away when a combination of storm and tide pushes water onshore. These things are additive. There's a profound difference between having a dry home or business and one with 'just' a foot of water inside the first floor.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is providing an excellent interactive visualization tool for Hurricane Sandy's storm surge impact, updated as data comes in. Here's recent output:

Beyond producing impressive graphics, reams of predictive data describing destructive effects of weather, tide and sea level rise end up affecting lives of actual people. After decades of operations unaffected by weather on the surface, New York City will be shutting down its subway system for the second time in only eleven months, Sandy being the second hurricane after last year's Irene to affect operations. Some 370,000 persons have been ordered evacuated from their homes by Mayor Bloomberg. Evacuation maps describe the scene:

After Hurricane Sandy has passed and people whose lives are altered by the storm begin picking up the pieces it's important that we remember to learn from this event, to salvage some value from what otherwise is pointless waste.

As Climate Central's GIS tool shows, regardless of sea level rise the long term odds for safety of coastal development are poor. Add in expected sea level rise and these odds become still worse; as years pass the probability of record high storm surges increases and the trend of storm surge heights is upwards. For homeowners and businesses in low-lying coastal locations this is like playing a dire game with the odds of winning steadily diminishing over time. 

Recently in the news and discussed at Skeptical Science was the effort by North Carolina legislators to set boundaries on what information could inform public policy concerning coastal development. Virginia has been tempted to go down the same path. Sandy's arrival reminds us of the folly of trying to legislate facts not amenable to or concerned with matters of law. Lawmakers can deny funding and facilities to scientists researching effects of climate change and they can forbid planners from incorporating cold facts into policy. Unfortunately the jurisdiction of legislators does not extend to physics or weather or the phases of the Moon, as we're seeing.

Here are sincere good wishes from Skeptical Science for the health and safety of those confronting Hurricane Sandy. We wish you well. 

Addendum: Jeff Masters provides updated analysis of Sandy's surge threat here.


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Comments 1 to 47:

  1. We can only hope that this will bring insight about sea level rise to a certain state's legislature...
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  2. Sitting listening to gentle rain on caravan roof thinking how lucky i am 200m up (and 2000 miles away)
    Good luck to you folk in the danger zone. Lets hope its not as bad as it could be, and if all goes well lets hope the mayor doesnt get attacked for being alarmist! It is indeed alarming.
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  3. Just noticed that Michael Tobis connected some dots on this story, way back when on the 25th.

    Grim Trajectories.
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  4. I've already encountered a "skepticons" argument that the energy of this storm is built upon the surging cold front and this cold front is evidence of a "global cooling which is on the rise".
    At what point do you throw your hands up and walk away, head into the kitchen, open the fridge and pull out a frosty adult beverage, go to the porch and watch the sunset?

    On the other this storm is tracking straight into the liberal elite's heartland as well as the center of both financial and political power, is there a possibility that this could be an event of seminal importance in tipping the scale of awareness toward honest and objective analysis of the mountain of evidence that has built into an Everest?

    As is our nature, action, albeit reactive, will be determined by a body count of inescapable sadness and tragedy; anything less than rows of body bags and this storm will be just another History Channel footnote.
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  5. An article in the NY Times does a fine job of explaining some of the mechanics of storm surge, why the region Sandy is expected to hit is at particular risk:

    Shallow Waters and Unusual Path May Worsen the Surge
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  6. Heh, I've been looking around for detailed information on the storm. Should have come here first.

    Nothing too bad here yet, but the wind has been steadily picking up since Sunday morning. I work in Newark, but my office is shut down today and tomorrow along with most of the rest of the city. My biggest worry ATM is another power outage like we had with Irene and then the big snowstorm this time last year. Both of those were followed by fairly warm weather, but this time they are predicting a cold snap after the storm. They finally started upgrading the infrastructure after those outages and the solar energy boom here in New Jersey has also been helping to push towards a more modern power grid. Among other things, they've installed individual solar panels on a few hundred thousand telephone poles around the state. Each of these is tied in to the electric line running on the same pole and capable of reporting back current power flow (along with performance of the solar panel and other data). That should immediately let them know where there are power outages, but we'll have to see how well it holds up.
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  7. I recently published a paper on hurricane surge threat finding greater and more frequent hurricane surges in globally warm years compared to cold. This was looking at extremes in tide gauge data since 1923. This is just a correlation ofcourse, but it certainly makes me wonder about the future.
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  8. Recently in the news and discussed at Skeptical Science was the effort by North Carolina legislators to set boundaries on what information could inform public policy concerning coastal development. Virginia has been tempted to go down the same path. Sandy's arrival reminds us of the folly of trying to legislate facts not amenable to or concerned with matters of law.

    Worth noting in this context is the move just over a month ago by the NSW conservative government to do away with the necessity for local councils to consider, when assessing development proposals, IPCC sea level rise predictions.

    Someone with a bit of nous might put them on notice that Sandy demonstrates why this was a negligent move, and why the government might be considered culpable for future flooding of new developments.

    If only the relevant politicians could be held accountable for any future damage that results from this policy change...
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  9. Just a brief note: Dr. Masters mentions 9 p.m. for the high tide. That is probably for the Manhattan or central NYC area in general. In Long Island Sound, where the storm surge is likely to be the most severe, the high tide times for tonight range from about 10 p.m. at the eastern end to midnight in the western end where the most water will pile up. I'm glad I'm in West Hartford, Connecticut, well above the current sea-level.
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  10. That's an excellent point about time correction for tides, Don. The more complicated the coast line, the more arrival of tides varies from location-location.

    Here's a pretty nice tool for deducing tide timing in specific locations in the NE:

    Nor'East Saltwater Tide Charts
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  11. Grinsted, that's a very interesting and timely paper. Thank you.
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  12. Thank you, Doug.

    Technically, I see that the 11 am update is now showing the inlets southwest of Manhattan are potentially looking at higher storm surges than western Long Island Sound.

    Down along our shoreline, however, we have a lot of residential neighborhoods.

    Our governor here in Connecticut, Dannel Malloy, just held a noon press conference in which he made a few subtle yet telling remarks. He pointed out that the storm is unprecedented, yet noted that it was a wake-up call for all of us. The two specific points he made were that our state would need in the future to plan for similar events that have the potential to knock out our electrical grids and sewer systems in low-lying areas. It turned out that an electrical substation in Bridgeport, Connecticut, almost needed to be shut down. Malloy said the storm surge was a matter of 8 to 10 inches shy of causing a shutdown at the point of high tide. The prediction is safety shutdowns will be required this evening going into the next high tide. Of course, we are already seeing wind-caused power outages all over the state, even though the wind is still barely gusting to tropical storm strength.

    I think one of the interesting facts about this storm and last October's snow storm is that we are seeing a convergence of traditionally winter and summer weather events here in the northeast. All that extra energy in the climate system is finding new ways to act.
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  13. Re Malloy it's a terrific thing to hear from a public servant who's able to look to the future and understand an object lesson even while dealing with immediate contingencies.
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  14. YubeDude, that really is the kind of reply that makes you want to scream. I've seen several attempts at dismissing or manipulating Sandy, but that is the first where the cooling spin was attempted to be put on it.
    Earlier today I had the... luxury... of listening through a taxing explination that the fuss over Sandy has been hyped up by the "leftist media" in order to swing voters for Obama. The really frustrating part is I'm in Canada, and still in the path of the hurricane at that. To see the potential damage the US might undergo as a result of Sandy brushed off as a political ploy is just infuriating
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  15. DMCarey, I think you misinterpreted YubeDude. I thought he made a point that we get frustrated with the icers. Granted, he might be a Republican but does that really matter here? I have heard reports that people right in the path are not even doing the basics to survive a power outage for a few days. Lack of personal responsibility in a modest planning mode could save a lot of lives, but most people really do expect the government services to 'save' them.
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  16. @Bernard J . Never underestimate the power of the real estate industry and their close liaisons with politicians.
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  17. Indeed Uncle Pete.

    And not to forget the real estate industry's liaisons with the likes of David Archibald, Ian Plimer, and Bob Carter.
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  18. Bernard J @17

    I don’t know if you are aware or not but the real estate developer pictured in the SMH article you linked to is now the Lord Mayor of Newcastle – developer becomes politician.

    Now that’s no way to solve the problem!
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  19. US summer heat wave. Record low arctic sea ice minimum. NY hit by two hurricanes in one year. But its just bad luck...
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  20. Brian at #18.

    I don’t know if you are aware or not but the real estate developer pictured in the SMH article you linked to is now the Lord Mayor of Newcastle – developer becomes politician.

    No, I wasn't aware of that! Brings to mind foxes and hen houses.

    It's obviously a very different Hunter Valley now than when I knew it. It hints at the background for the state government's recinding of the sea level rise policy... Seems that cronyism is alive and well in NSW.

    Joy Cummings will be turning in her grave.
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  21. Sandy moved onshore near Atlantic City NJ with a sub 28 inch pressure (I don't know exactly but the two hourly readings were 28.01) The previous non-tropical cyclone record for the US was 28.21 in 2010 in a storm in the upper midwest. Sandy was sucked inland more rapidly than expected which saved NYC and NJ to some extent. But record surges were recorded on Long Island, Sandy Hook NJ (old 10 feet 1 inch, new 12.58 feet) and well up the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie NY (old 8 feet a year ago in Irene, new 9.5 feet). It's not over but the worst is over. The result in my area of Northern Virginia and elsewhere was sporadic wind damage, not severe but over a very wide area somewhat typical flooding.
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  22. > Eric (skeptic) .... Sandy was sucked inland
    Uh huh, sucked. Right.

    What affected the storm track? Four factors.
    Two of these four factors affected by climate change:

    These two: jet stream path, and persistence of blocking high pressure, both affected by arctic warming:

    Prediction made -- and, sure enough, evidence happened.
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  23. "... Weather systems are progressing more slowly, raising the chances for long-duration extreme events, like droughts, floods, and heat waves.

    "“[The] tendency for weather to hang around longer is going to favor extreme weather conditions that are related to persistent weather patterns,” said Francis, the study’s lead author.

    "One does not have to look hard to find an example of an extreme event that resulted from a huge, slow-moving swing in the jet stream. It was a stuck or “blocking weather pattern” – with a massive dome of high pressure ...."

    And for Sandy -- the blocking high was over Greenland.
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  24. Hank, it wasn't long ago (the 90's) that global warming was implicated in a positive NAO trend. NAO appears to have cycles rather than trends. The current negative NAO is probably coincidental although there might be an effect from the anomalous heat released from the refreezing Arctic. The abstract that you posted does talk about a potential fall/winter seasonal effect but I don't see from that abstract what the specific cause and effect is (probably too complex to explain in an abstract).

    There was certainly a contribution to the strength of Sandy from anomalously warm Atlantic temperatures. Sandy showed up coinciding with a deep upper trough and short wave. Otherwise we would have had a merely normal nor'easter instead of a record breaking one.
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  25. For my part the lesson here is pretty simple: a "few" inches of water make a tremendous difference; dismissing what may appear to be minor SLR as being insignificant and something easily brushed off is deeply unimaginative.

    Attribution: if AGW causes sea level to increase by 12" and because of those few inches your defenses fail during a storm in a way costing billions of dollars, AGW just cost you billions of dollars. If protecting your infrastructure against a "few" inches of sea level rise costs you billions of dollars, that's AGW costing you billions of dollars.

    The past is prologue. Sandy's surge may have been influenced by AGW to a greater or lesser extent but Sandy's utility lies in telling us what we may expect. Sandy was a rehearsal.

    So let's keep the SLR to a minimum. Simple enough?
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  26. I just had a thought which I am going to throw out here... Can super storms like this generate low frequency seismic waves or pressure pulses which trigger earthquakes locally or remotely (for example on the west coast)?

    This could be one mechanism which is involved when we get sudden climate change like GW as it has been noted in the geological record that earthquakes, volcanoes and seismic activity does increase with the changing climate.

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  27. I think that locally there is an effect due to the raising of the water table as the tidal surge pules in in areas that are fault prone.
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  28. " it has been noted in the geological record that earthquakes, volcanoes and seismic activity does increase with the changing climate."

    As a geologist, I find this *fascinating*: are you saying (just so I'm hearing you correctly) that GW ~drives~ seismic and volcanic activity?

    *Really*? Please cite the sources of that data, given you assert " has been noted in the geological record...."
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  29. Perhaps that's sound reasoning Paul, but the immediate issues and proximate effects along the east coast of the US have nothing to do with seismology.
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  30. Identify your useful politicians by how connected they are with the future.

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York on Tuesday raised the possibility of building a levee in New York in the aftermath of major flooding in Lower Manhattan and other parts of the city.

    “It is something we’re going to have to start thinking about,” Mr. Cuomo said. ”The construction of this city did not anticipate these kinds of situations. We are only a few feet above sea level. The flooding in downtown Manhattan was really extraordinary and unlike anything I had seen.”

    New York Times
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  31. Absolutely correct, doug_b: it's, at minimum, a goal post shift to even talk of seismological or vulcanolical influences on Sandy.

    As for me? I remain *extremely* skeptical of the claim that storms lead temblors and/or vulcanism.
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  32. Meanwhile, here's a perfect example of why legislation such as that in Virginia and North Carolina is effectively demented and dangerous:

    PSE&G said it had 1.3 million electricity customers in the dark, including many customers in Newark without power, because a surge in Newark Bay had flooded substations and other equipment.

    The company, the Public Service Electric and Gas Company, had laid sandbags, based on previous experience with flooding from rain and runoff, but was not prepared for the surge, said Ralph A. LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of Public Service.

    The sandbagging “really didn’t match up with where this storm surge hit us in Newark Bay,” he said in a telephone conference call with reporters on Tuesday morning. “This wall of water that hit us was not something we could have prepared for, although I certainly wish we could have.”

    New York Times

    It should go without saying that legislators who forbid use of facts in planning set up folks like LaRossa for failure. When executives "fail to anticipate" in the future VA or NC, who'll be fired? Legislators will be dust, leaving the bag in other hands.
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  33. Another example of the kind of risk legislators will expose people to when they blind policy to facts. A hospital in NYC is evacuated in the middle of the storm due to unprecedented flooding:

    Dr Andrew Brotman, senior vice president and vice dean for clinical affairs and strategy at the hospital told CNN that, between 7 and 7.45pm on Monday the hospital's basement, lower floors, and elevator shafts filled with 10 to 12 feet of water and the hospital lost its power.

    "Things went downhill very, very rapidly and very unexpectedly," Brotman said. "The flooding was just unprecedented."


    Failure of foresight has serious consequences.

    Things that are unprecedented can still be anticipated, if you're allowed to employ your intellect. Legislate intellect out of the picture and you're effectively left ignorant. Why would legislators mandate ignorance for their citizens?

    Today's newspapers are littered with stories like this hospital's experience, all telling the same basic message.
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  34. Excellent comments Doug.
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  35. We really do need to listen and think when we're given a harsh education, "gifted" with an example big enough to penetrate our daily distractions.

    This is a shockingly expensive lesson so let's benefit from it. Doing otherwise is disrespectful.

    A few inches of water makes a big difference. Such a simple thing but so easily forgotten or overlooked, or just ignored.

    Just a little less water going to the wrong place can be a wonderful thing. We still have some control over this.
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  36. "Why would legislators mandate ignorance for their citizens?'

    That' a trick question, ain't it, doug?...;)
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  37. Vroomie, I'm reminded again of this excellent interaction:

    "Why are you failing? Is it ignorance, or apathy?"

    "I don't know and I don't care."

    Meanwhile, the WSJ talks with a VP of ConED:

    WSJ: A lot of meteorologists, including one who tracks weather for The Wall Street Journal, were blaring sirens about this storm. In what sense was Con Ed was not prepared for the ferocity of the surge?

    We’ve never had a 14-foot surge in New York City — I don’t know how you predict that. We were tracking probably 10 different storm models — I never heard an inch more than 12.

    WSJ: What would ConEd have done differently if you knew the that the water levels were going to be 14 feet.

    I’m pretty sure I would not have taken out the [E. 13th St substation] in advance — 220,000 customers. We always…look for lessons learned. I don’t know, if we could we have got the fire department with pumps, the National Guard with pumps? You’re talking about a lot of water. I don’t know if there was any way to keep up with the water.

    It’s basically the sea is up into the substation. The same thing happened during Katrina, the same thing happened in a bunch of different places. I mean, the force of nature is just tremendous.

    WSJ: Any lessons learned so far to prepare for next time?

    I think it’s too soon to tell…We certainly have to look at the water, 14-foot tides, certainly we need to look at a plan going forward as to what we can possibly do differently. Maybe we can move equipment up to higher levels [like control wiring], but that’s going to take some time.


    A lot of information packed into that sequence:

    "We’ve never had a 14-foot surge in New York City — I don’t know how you predict that."

    Arm yourself with the best information and don't let legislators tell you that you shouldn't know certain things.

    We’ve never had a 14-foot surge in New York City — I don’t know how you predict that. We were tracking probably 10 different storm models — I never heard an inch more than 12.

    Researchers are conservative. Uncertainty is not your friend. Legislators mandating that models be less reliable is not a good thing.

    It’s basically the sea is up into the substation.

    Get used to it. Avoid the problem by choosing wisely. Don't allow legislators to make you ignorant.

    I mean, the force of nature is just tremendous.

    True. Why make it more powerful yet?
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  38. Brian Williams on NBC's extra half hour of Nightly News coverage tonight (Tuesday, 30 October 2012) has just forcefully pointed out that Sandy and last year's epic October storm in the Northeastern U.S. constitute the "new normal." He went on to point out that scientists have explained the storms will get worse due to global warming. Dr. Kevin Trenbreth was the first go-to person Williams went to in order to back up the reporting. Trenbreth forcefully identified the increasing ocean heat content as a key player in the changing weather. Then Dr. Katharine Hayhoe got a chance to speak. Very powerful.
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  39. "regardless of sea level rise the long term odds for safety of coastal development are poor. Add in expected sea level rise and these odds become still worse; as years pass the probability of record high storm surges increases and the trend of storm surge heights is upwards."

    At what point do we start the planned, permanent evacuation of coastal cities and towns? Isn't this inevitable eventually anyway, at this point? Won't it take a very long time to do well? Shouldn't this be our wake-up call to start the process?

    What's the chance that there will be no more Sandys or worse in the coming decades? What's the chance that sea level will be lower when they hit?

    We are now under attack by the climate. It is (long past) time both to take precautionary measures and, of course, to stop providing 'munitions' to our 'attacker.'
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  40. I can't remember his name but I heard a person from the USA on car radio today with a catchy take on starting the process.

    We don't 'rebuild', we must 'reposition'.

    I doubt it will be enforced by too many governments this time round, but I rather fancy the insurance companies might have a few things to say to guide people's future decisions. Insisting that insurance payments will be forthcoming only if people build elsewhere and that elsewhere must be further away from sea level could be one wake-up call.
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  41. Good point, adelady. As usual, $$$ is likely to be the only reality that significantly changes habits and habitats.

    IIRC, last week SwissRe increased it's rates for insurance companies doing business in North America because the rate of pay outs for disasters was going up so quickly. They also made it very clear that the kinds of disasters that were increasing so dramatically were specifically weather, heat and drought--the ones most closely linked to GW.
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  42. Adelady, was it Edward Blakely, by any chance? :

    "You see these major floods - these floods wouldn't be there if they hadn't filled in all the swamplands and lowlands and given permits to build in areas where the so-called 100-year flood occurs, and this is the 100-year flood that is now coming every five years.

    This is a time to reposition, and not say, "We will rebuild".

    The smart thing to say is, "We will reposition"."
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  43. vrooomie i find your response strange as a simple google produces a host of listings of reputable ilk. And also quite a few scholarly links. I think you should put the effort in to a bit of research before shooting your posts off.

    There is also this book published quite recently with lots of references and a good read too as Bill discusses what we can look forward to from this aspect of GW....

    Waking the Giant,
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  44. Paul Magnus, perhaps you should reliquish your preconcived notions of where my *question* (not a declarative statement about what you referenced, just a *question*) was going. I reiterate..

    "As a geologist, I find this *fascinating*: are you saying ...that GW ~drives~ seismic and volcanic activity?

    *Really*? Please cite the sources of that data, given you assert " has been noted in the geological record...."

    And this, for fairness, "I remain *extremely* skeptical of the claim that storms lead temblors and/or vulcanism."

    So you responded with a link to a book, by Bill McGuire, with whom I'm not terribly familiar. I have heard of his work and he seems well-regarded and well-published.

    Now, again, I ask, it was you asserted that storms like Sandy "...could be one mechanism which is involved when we get sudden climate change like GW as it has been noted in the geological record that earthquakes, volcanoes and seismic activity does increase with the changing climate."

    This could well be and as a scientist, I *still* regard this with some skepticism, as it should be. "I might end up being wrong about that, but in the scheme of being a scientist, it would be a position we all are used to! We fail a lot more on early hypotheses, leading to credible and robust theories.

    Have you read McGuire's book? If you did, does it credibly demonstrate that in the geological record, large storm activity drives seismological/volcanic events, and how? That would be the question wrt Sandy, and I'm not entirely tossing it out as as a *possible* option, wrt changes sudden CC could induce.

    I have not read the book, but will give it a read and look into other "listings of reputable ilk" to see what is being said by others in my field who are more connencted to the hypothesis than I.

    I put a *whooole* lotta research into this subject, and your assertion was the first time I'd heard it floated as a possible consequence for the damage caused by Sandy: a stormn surge of 13-ish feet is a large amount of water, no doubt; I still don't see credible data that that *very* local, and *very* time-restricted event, resulted in greater flood damage than otherwise it would have caused, due to land subsidence. As data is collected, we shall see.

    Please do not *assume* I don't do "a bit of research" into this subject, and thanks for the tip about McGuire's book.
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  45. Paul Magnus,

    If links to such information are easy to come by, and plentiful, it would be tremendously useful if you could post two or three, since you have already vetted them. Once I see one article, I would have some better idea what kind of search words and phrases to use, to find more.

    But it is not helpful when you offer a whole book, and slam the person who asked for references. This is science, why ask others to reinvent a wheel that you have at your fingertips? Just post links, make it easy for others to see what you see.
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    Moderator Response: There does not seem to be an appropriate topic at SkS connecting SLR with seismic activity, this thread included. Please arrange another location for continued discussion of the topic.
  46. Interesting... (my last post on this topic here:)

    New Jersey Earthquake 2012: Small Quake Rattles Ringwood Community

    N.J. - Some residents in northern New Jersey awoke to a small earthquake early Monday.

    The temblor, with a magnitude of 2.0, struck at 1:19 a.m. and was centered in Ringwood, a community that's still dealing with downed trees and power outages from Sandy.
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  47. A distant followup to this post. Here's a fine article in the New York Times describing how the New York City subway system was largely preserved during Sandy's passage and discussing future scenarios.

    Could New York City Subways Survive Another Hurricane?

    If you're not a NYT subscriber you can still read a limited number of articles per month. This article is worth the expenditure of a token. 

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