I don’t know about you, but I’m hiding down here in Adelaide.
I’ve read bits and pieces about the massive weather system known as Hurricane Sandy – now simply being referred to as ‘The Storm’ at NY Times Online – but haven’t done a full exploration of the impact yet. Yes, I’m a chicken.
What I have done however is read a little of the science around this once-in-a-lifetime (we hope) event.
Nature has published a review article which highlights some of the factors associated with this disaster. Here’s a summary in the form of a Q&A:
Q: What is making Hurricane Sandy so devastating?
A: Sheer size – 280km diametre of severe winds, 780 km diametre of strong winds.
Q: Why is it unusual?
A: Several factors – it was feeding off unusually warm surface waters in the Atlantic Ocean, it has been forced inland by a high-pressure system off Greenland, it has merged with a winter system moving in from the west, and it coincided with higher than average tides due to a full moon.
Q: What is the link to global warming?
A: No simple answer exists. Discussions are ongoing about the relevance of rising sea level and rising sea temperatures attributed to climate change.
Q: How long is Sandy expected to last?
A: The storm, which has now moderated, is projected to continue moving north over the next two days, then into Canada on Thursday and Friday.
Sadly, I think now that the storm is moving on the enormity of the clean-up task will start to impact on residents of affected areas. I’d wish them a Happy Halloween if I could, but instead just send my condolences and best wishes for a speedy return to normal life.
[image thanks to Hitchster on flickr]