The news media has been calling Hurricane Sandy a ‘superstorm.’ It is not that, not yet. It is not as intense as storms that will form later in the process of climate change. We have already passed the point of no return on this issue. It is going to happen. In part, this is because the interglacial during which human population has expanded to cover the earth is ending, and in part it is because mankind does not have planetary institutions that are sufficiently robust to enable widespread agreement about this issue. So the developed country most able to reduce its CO2 emissions, the United States, has remained divided. Nevertheless, market forces in the form of rising fuel prices and economic recession, have combined to lower US emissions over the past year. Unfortunately, it will not be enough to stop what is coming.
What has happened is that we have added our share of carbon dioxide to a natural cycle of change and sped it up by hundreds of years. Because so much CO2 has entered the atmosphere so fast, we have created an unstable climate regime across the whole planet, with a strong emphasis on the Northern Hemisphere, where arctic ice melt will add significant volatility to the unfolding situation.
Sandy could become an extraordinary storm, but not a storm such as those which will develop during the actual climate change crisis. This crisis, incidentally, will over the years that it develops and intensifies, will decimate or destroy the profits of most of the companies that have fought so hard to avoid paying for CO2 emission reduction.
Storms are the way nature seeks balance in the atmosphere. Natural processes move toward stasis, while life processes are ever expanding. When the two forces come into conflict, as is happening now, nature always wins, and nature will win now. The movement toward balance is always more powerful than the overgrowth of populations of any kind. We are not exception.
Sandy has the potential to collide with two cold fronts that are now moving down the mid-Atlantic states. This will mean that two opposing wind frictions and two opposite temperature gradients will need to be balanced. The result will be a storm of a type that cannot really be modeled, and this is why all of the precautions are being issued. Nobody knows if it will bring violent events such as tornadoes, or if it will become a blizzard, a downpour, or both.
This where we are right now. After the storm has passed, I will write another journal about what the American east coasts, Eire, the British Isles and Western Europe should anticipate over the next few years.