Will global warming bring storm barriers to New York Harbor? Bloomberg and Cuomo blame Hurricane Sandy for climate change
- Governor Cuomo makes an unprecedented proposal for a possible levee construction for the city
- Despite a chorus of support for the link to climate change, some experts deny there is enough evidence to blame global warming for the storm
Hurricane Sandy may have seemed particularly damaging to those caught in its path, but some have suggested that global warming could bring even more devastating storms to the US in years to come.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg both pointed to climate change as the culprit for Sandy’s devastation when discussing the extent of the devastation Tuesday morning.
And Cuomo even raised the possibility of building a levee in New York Harbor, an unprecedented move to protect the 400-year-old city.
Both Andrew Cuomo (left) and Michael Bloomberg agree that climate change is a cause of the superstorm
Many observers have pointed out that it is almost impossible to pinpoint climate change as the cause of specific weather events.
In addition, the US has long been subject to hurricanes and other damaging storms as violent as Sandy.
But the horrors of Sandy, combined with last year’s destructive Hurricane Irene, have led New York’s top officials to raise the specter of global warming.
At a news conference in Manhattan on Tuesday, Cuomo said he had told President Obama that “we now have a 100-year flood every two years.”
He added: “There has been a series of extreme weather events. That is not a political statement. That is a factual statement.
“Anyone who says there isn’t a dramatic change in weather patterns is, I think, denying the reality.”
Bloomberg echoed the sentiment, saying, “What’s clear is that the storms we’ve had in the last year or so in this country and around the world are much more intense than before.
“Whether it’s global warming or whatever, I don’t know, but we’re going to have to deal with those issues.”
When asked if officials were considering building a levee in the city’s harbor, the governor replied, “It’s something we need to start thinking about.”
“The construction of this city had not anticipated this kind of situation. We’re only a few feet above sea level.’
Since the founding of New York City in the early 17th century, the lower tip of Manhattan has been at the heart of metropolitan life – despite its vulnerability to flooding from the harbor.
Al Gore predictably joined the chorus on climate change on Tuesday, describing the hurricane as “a disturbing sign of things to come” in a post on his blog.
“We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis,” the former vice president added.
Two possible links between global warming and the damage Sandy has done are the increased sea level that makes it easier to flood the coast, and the warm air in the Atlantic Ocean that increases the storm’s severity.
However, many experts have denied that climate change was the cause of Hurricane Sandy — Houston Chronicle science reporter Eric Bergen wrote that the connection was “a stretch that just isn’t supported by science at this point.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has previously said there is little evidence that global warming is exacerbating tropical storms and hurricanes.
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