September 4, 2013 11:31AM

Re: Did Global Warming Reduce the Impacts of Sandy?

And people thought I was being impertinent when I wondered in these pages whether or not global warming actually reduced the impacts of Superstorm Sandy.

Now comes this abstract from a paper by Elizabeth Barnes and colleagues just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

Superstorm Sandy ravaged the eastern seaboard of the United States, costing a great number of lives and billions of dollars in damage. Whether events like Sandy will become more frequent as anthropogenic greenhouse gases continue to increase remains an open and complex question. Here we consider whether the persistent large-scale atmospheric patterns that steered Sandy onto the coast will become more frequent in the coming decades. Using the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, phase 5 multimodel ensemble, we demonstrate that climate models consistently project a decrease in the frequency and persistence of the westward flow that led to Sandy’s unprecedented track, implying that future atmospheric conditions are less likely than at present to propel storms westward into the coast.

Just because global warming enthusiasts are quick to link all weather disasters to climate changes from human greenhouse gas emissions, doesn’t mean they really are. In fact, just the opposite may be the case—global warming may be acting to avert some weather disasters. I know, I know, I am being impertinent again.