Sorry Alarmists, But Hurricane Sandy Not Caused By Global Warming

Hurricane Sandy left in its path some impressive statistics. Its central pressure was the lowest ever recorded for a storm north of North Carolina, breaking a record set by the devastating “Long Island Express” hurricane of 1938. Along the East Coast, Sandy led to more than 50 deaths, left millions without power and caused an estimated $20 billion or more in damage.

But to call Sandy a harbinger of a “new normal,” in which unprecedented weather events cause unprecedented destruction, would be wrong. This historic storm should remind us that planet Earth is a dangerous place, where extreme events are commonplace and disasters are to be expected. In the proper context, Sandy is less an example of how bad things can get than a reminder that they could be much worse.

In studying hurricanes, we can make rough comparisons over time by adjusting past losses to account for inflation and the growth of coastal communities. If Sandy causes $20 billion in damage (in 2012 dollars), it would rank as the 17th most damaging hurricane or tropical storm (out of 242) to hit the U.S. since 1900—a significant event, but not close to the top 10. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 tops the list (according to estimates by the catastrophe-insurance provider ICAT), as it would cause $180 billion in damage if it were to strike today. Hurricane Katrina ranks fourth at $85 billion.

To put things into even starker perspective, consider that from August 1954 through August 1955, the East Coast saw three different storms make landfall—Carol, Hazel and Diane—that in 2012 each would have caused about twice as much damage as Sandy.

While it’s hardly mentioned in the media, the U.S. is currently in an extended and intense hurricane “drought.” The last Category 3 or stronger storm to make landfall was Wilma in 2005. The more than seven years since then is the longest such span in over a century.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal. By Roger Pielke Jr.

Photo credit: Chalky Lives (Creative Commons)


  1. So now "global warming" has evolved into "climate change". Even for people uneducated about global warming, it has been taught down through the ages, that "weather" "climate" changes are the expected, and the norm. We have had hurricanes as long as this earth has been formed, only have those recorded to compare to. Are blizzards, Ice storms, torrential rains, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms with numerous lightening strikes not caused by climate changes???We certainly don't have blizzards or ice storms in summer, now do we??? People who believe Al Gore's crap just needs to think about history of weather in general. We had no CO2 emissions years ago, how do you explain the severe hurricanes back then???Next, it will be the pollution is causing all the earthquakes, the tsunamis, floodings, etc And some are stupid enough to believe it. He has milked our government enough, begone Obama and take BIG Al with you, we don't want or need either of you.

  2. poptoy1949 says:

    Someone is going to have to prove to me that Global Warming exist. I have read thousands of papers and articles over the years and I have yet to read something that gives proof. Al Gore is not an expert, has never been, and will never be.

  3. Every time something happens it is global warming they will never give up on this till they make there millions and Billions They tought this was going to be there way to makeing Billions a dollers for them But it back fired and they wont give up They ivested to much money in this poor babys

  4. The changes in our planet's climate are cyclical! 45 years ago, before all this hoopla, I read we were now approaching the end of the Ice A

    ge. Scientists have removed ice cores from the depths of ancient glaciers. By examining these cores, they can detect climate changes that have occurred over thousands of years. Results: the Earth has been tilting on its axis, from era to era, rather than maintaining a steady balance. Conclusion: this is what causes our climate changes. Source: National Geographic Channel.

  5. This is very interesting. Personally, I don't believe that "global warming" exists since it is yet to be proven. Al Gore is not really an expert, is he? The earth had hurricanes, earthquakes, ice storms and other natural disasters long before human beings came to be, it is natural after all, and it is definitely not caused by pollution.

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