Sandy The Squirrel? No, Sandy The Hurricane!
I am sure that most people have heard of the monster storm that is pummeling the east coast as we speak. Hurricane Sandy, although classified as only a Category 1, has caused mass destruction along the east coast of the United States. Unlike most east coastal hurricanes that stay out to sea and never really hit the shoreline, Sandy is doing the exact opposite. Hurricane Sandy has also been called a “rare hybrid superstorm”, or even more cleverly nicknamed to match the Halloween spirit, “Frankenstorm.” Hurricane Sandy was created by an Arctic jet stream, formed in the north that morphed with a tropical storm formed in the south. Although New York is feeling the most of Sandy’s “wrath,” the coasts of Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and even North Carolina have experienced high winds and pummeling rains. Hurricane Sandy has not only sparked interests in the United States, but all over the world.
Many comparisons have been made between Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. Well for one, both of these hurricanes have defied odds. Hurricane Sandy is the first hurricane that has traveled upward along the east coast. Most east coastal hurricanes stay farther east, and never directly hit land, but Sandy refuses to do so. In addition, Hurricane Katrina is one of just three hurricanes that have been recorded as a category five. Hurricanes are categorized based on the speed of their winds. A hurricane is called a category five when its winds exceed one hundred fifty-five miles per hour. So if you can imagine how fast you go on the highway, and double that speed, you still won’t have the speed of a category five hurricane. I know, wow!
The question has been raised, “Is Hurricane Sandy caused by global warming?” In my opinion, asking if global warming caused Hurricane Sandy is similar to asking if hurricanes are caused by global warming. Well, hurricanes form in waters of warmer temperatures, and will occasionally hit land. So if hurricanes are created in warm waters, the water temperatures are continuing to increase due to global warming, and the number of destructive hurricanes is increasing as well, is it safe to assume that global warming causes these storms?
In my opinion, the answer to this common question is yes. Everything adds up, if hurricanes are reliant on warm waters to even exist, and global warming causes the water temperatures rise, as a result, there will be more hurricanes. I predict that over time, parts of Earth that don’t normally experience hurricanes will get them because the waters will have warmed in that area. If people can piece these facts together, they will realize that the frequency of hurricanes will increase. Many people, I feel, refuse to put two-and-two together because they don’t want to face it that there is something serious happening to our planet; our home. No one likes a hurricane, so hopefully these severe storms will send a message to those that don’t feel the importance of putting a stop to global warming that says this issue is serious and they need to do something about it.
Recently in our Environmental Writing class, we Skyped with the climate scientist for NASA, Bruce Wielicki. Dr. Wielicki told us that we don’t know if global warming directly causes Hurricane Sandy, and we are still researching. He predicts however, that in the future, we will see less small hurricanes, but larger, more devastating storms, similar to Hurricane Katrina. No one can put a date on the day when the world will end, or when something serious happens, but we can put a date on when we do something about global warming.