ESSIC's Professor Raghu Murtugudde appeared on Fox News today to discuss climate change's effect on Hurricane Sandy. According to the professor and other experts, Hurricane Sandy was much worse than it could have been due to global warming.
"The question now is really not whether each weather event is caused by global warming," Said Murtugudde on Fox. "The climate has warmed, and the weather has formed anyway, but they are all now forming in a much warmer, much wetter climate, especially in our region from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
Since Hurricane Sandy reached landfall, scientists have been attributing its great impact on the effected regions. At the annual meeting of the Geological Science of America, the rising sea levels were attributed to causing much greater damage to areas like New York City's Battery Park, where there was a 13.2-foot storm surge.
"At least 1 foot of those 13.2 feet was arguably due to sea-level rise," said Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann. "That's because sea levels are 1 foot (30 centimeters) higher than they were a century ago," he continued.
Sea surface temperatures off the East Coast contributed to the flooding as well, scientists say. Due to above-average levels of water vapor, they helped intensify the storm and produce more rain which caused damage and power outages to many regions of the United States.
NOAA satellites monitored and tracked the storm as it reached land, bringing rain, rises in sea level, and gale winds.
Damages from hurricane Sandy could reach $50 billion, as well as shave a half percentage point off the entire nation's economic growth this quarter, according to economists.
In Maryland, power outages impacted homes and businesses for over a week, and extensive flooding reached many areas of the state. The University of Maryland was closed for two days, and operations were limited. There was also roof leaking reported at many dorm halls and office buildings, including ESSIC. The metro was closed as well.