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Opinion & Editorial

Hurricane Sandy: Proof of Climate Change

If you were skeptic about climate change before, Hurricane Sandy is more than cause enough to change your mind. Leaving over 8 million people without power, the storm inflicted its most widespread damage ever to New York City’s 108 year-old subway system. For the first time since 1888, the New York Stock exchange was forced to close, and with 23 states affected by the storm, a record $50 billion dollars in damages was incurred, making Sandy the second costliest storm in history.

According to climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, this sort of occurrence could soon begin to happen every three to twenty years with none other than global warming to blame. While storm systems cannot singly be linked to global climate change, they are worsened by it as worldwide warming pushes up sea levels and temperatures. This results in changing hurricane patterns and leaves areas like New York vulnerable to another attack by a superstorm.

With our earth warming up faster than ever, sea level rise is expected to accelerate approximately two to seven feet within the next century. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) states it is “very likely” that extreme coastal flooding during storms will become far more common in the future as a result.

Political analyst, Meghan McCain, challenged the GOP’s skepticism about climate change after much of Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast.  As the storm hit shore, McCain tweeted, “So are we still going to go with climate change not being real, fellow Republicans?”

One fact is undeniable regarding whether climate change can be directly linked to the hurricane: our cities and infrastructures are more vulnerable to natural disasters today than ever before. Hurricane Sandy is proof of that. While Sandy was a rare, freak occurrence for us today, come tomorrow, it may be the norm.

It’s time for the hype about the reality of climate change and global warming to die down (for it could be debated forever) and time for action to be taken. The human race must work together to keep storms like Sandy from becoming frequent in our world.

Written by Rabia Khan’13




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