Sandy worsened by climate change: report

Climate chaos0

Sandy worsened by climate change: report

AAPNovember 3, 2012, 8:54 am

Australia’s Climate Commission says superstorm Sandy was made worse by climate change.

The death toll in the United States has passed 90 in 10 states, bringing to more than 150 the number killed by Sandy since it swept across the Caribbean, including Haiti and Cuba.

“The evidence suggests that climate change exacerbated the severity of Hurricane Sandy,” the chairman of the Climate Commission’s science advisory panel, Professor Matthew England, said in a new report.

“The shifts in climate towards higher temperatures and more moisture in the air are becoming the new normal, which is influencing the nature and intensity of weather patterns around the world.”

Prof England said storm surges had a particularly devastating impact on areas of the US coast and a warmer world, with higher sea levels, would make such surges worse.

Before reaching land, Sandy was feeding off exceptionally warm surface waters in the Atlantic Ocean.

The temperature of the surface waters from which Sandy was drawing energy was three to five degrees warmer than average, the commission reported.

Also, the base sea level had risen by about 20cm over the past century.

“A rise of 20cm may seem modest, but even small rises like this lead to a large increase in the probability of damaging floods,” the commission reported.

“The primary reason for rising sea levels around the world is climate change, which warms and thus expands the oceans and adds more water to the ocean by melting glaciers and ice caps.”

The commission brings together internationally renowned climate scientists with policy and business leaders.

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