Did Sandy happen because of global climate change? Answer: It’s quite possible according to one of the world’s leading climate science experts, Dr. Michael Mann from Penn Sate University and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches From The Front Lines:
Climate scientists can see that climate change is playing a role in setting the context for these storms, in particular the record levels of North Atlantic ocean warmth that is available to feed these storms with energy and moisture. Some of the more robust connections we can draw: 1) a foot of sea level rise over past century contributed to a worse peak coastal surge (13ft at Battery Park in NYC) than otherwise would have been observed and (2) near-record SSTs off east coast of U.S. (some–though obviously not all—of which can be attributed to anthropogenic warming) almost certainly added energy and moisture to the storm. In fact, the increased flooding and rainfall associated w/ tropical cyclones and hurricanes due to warmer SSTs over which they are forming and traveling, is one of the most robust climate change impacts on these storms.
In short, we can’t blame the existence of a single hurricane on global warming just like we can’t blame a single roll of snake-eyes on loaded dice — but we’ve been rolling a lot of snake-eyes lately.