650,000 U.S. homes damaged or destroyed by Sandy. Source: NBC News.
Image credit above: CIMSS/SSEC/University of Wisconsin-Madison and NOAA/NASA/JPSS Project.
Turning Hurricane Sandy's Scars Into Badges Of Survival. Showing off waterlines from Sandy's storm surge has become something of a status symbol with some residents of New York and New Jersey, as described in The New York Times: "It was a foul, filthy thing that marred the aesthetics, something to scrub off or paint over, something to just get rid of. It stood for what once was: a sour reminder of the thundering water, unimaginable wreckage and exponential wounds. No one would want it anymore, would they? engagingly pointed out the jagged white line that ran the length of the brick wall inside his wine shop, Pasanella & Son Vintners, in the South Street Seaport. It was about six feet above the floor. It was going to stay right there. The waterline from Hurricane Sandy..."
Photo credit above: "Marco Pasanella, owner of Pasanella & Son Vintners in the South Street Seaport, stood in front of the interior brick wall, which still has a waterline." Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times.
Sandy Was Our Social Storm, But At What Cost? Uploading all those Instagram photos of flooding seemed like a good idea at the time, until the power failed, there was no way to charge your iPhone, and now you couldn't reach your loved ones. Mashable has an interesting story about Sandy and social media; here's a clip: "..."A lot of the messaging when we announced the feature was to encouraging folks to take photos, but more importantly to take photos safely," said Shayne Adamski, director of digital communications for FEMA. "We did not want folks to put themselves in harm's way just to get a photo." Adamski added that taking and attempting to upload photos or video may not be a productive use of battery life during situations where a person may be without power for days at a time. He said priority No. 1 in these situations should be notifying friends and family members of your status so those people do not have to call emergency managers to find out about you..."
Photo credit above: "This combination of Oct. 29, 2012 and Oct. 20, 2013 photos shows sea water flooding the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in New York as Superstorm Sandy struck the city, and traffic entering nearly a year later." (AP Photo/John Minchillo).
Photo credit: "Residents look over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012. Hurricane Sandy battered the U.S. East Coast last year with fierce winds and driving rain, as the monster storm shut down transportation, shuttered businesses and left hundreds of thousands without power." (REUTERS/Keith Bedford).
Photo credit: Mike Groll, AP.
1. Sea level rise is making hurricanes more damaging—and Sandy is just the beginning. The most direct and undeniable way that global warming worsened Sandy is through sea level rise. According to climate researcher Ben Strauss of Climate Central, sea level in New York harbor is 15 inches higher today than it was in 1880, and of those 15 inches, eight are due to global warming's influence (the melting of land-based ice, and the thermal expansion of seawater as it warms). And that matters: For every inch of sea level rise, an estimated 6,000 additional people were impacted by Sandy who wouldn't have been otherwise..."
Photo credit above: "" .
Photo credit above: "Private homes along Apple Creek narrowly avoided the Mountain Fire which occurred July 2013 in the San Jacinto Mountains between Palm Springs and Idyllwild, California. USGS modeling in the wake of the fire has indicated a moderate chance of a debris flow flowing down Apple Creek." (Credit: Photo courtesy of the USDA Forest Service.)
Blizzard At The Superbowl? Businesses Seek Insurance. What are the odds? Slim, statistically, but Old Man Winter does have a wicked sense of humor. At this point nothing would surprise me. CNBC has the story; here's the intro: "Super Bowl 2014 at New Jersey's Meadowlands is expected to bring the Northeast $1.5 billion in revenue, but some businesses are already worrying about the weather, The Star-Ledger reported Tuesday. After the Farmers' Almanac said a bitter storm could hit the Northeast around the time of the big game on Feb. 2, business owners began to look for insurance. "It's an insurance most business owners probably don't have now and might not be thinking about," said Lori Shaw, executive director of the entertainment practice at Aon Risk Solutions..."
U.S. Says It Won't Back New, International Coal-Fired Power Plants. The number one thing we can do, worldwide, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Phase out coal-fired power plants, convert them to natural gas or retire them altogether. Sequestering CO2 underground (carbon sequestration) hasn't been proven to be even remotely cost-effective. And no, this probably won't happen anytime soon, but the market is doing what regulation can't - relatively cheap natural gas is powering an increasing percentage of the grid, producing roughly half the carbon emissions. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "In an aggressive move to impose President Obama’s environmental policies overseas, the Treasury Department on Tuesday largely declared an end to United States support for new coal-fired power plants around the world. The decision means that Mr. Obama’s administration will no longer contribute to coal projects financed by the World Bank and other international development banks..." (Photo: AP File).