Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Was climate change a factor in forming megastorm Sandy?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Nov 14, 2012 3:59 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, November 15:

Hurricane Sandy from space 300x170.jpg

Almost three weeks after Hurricane Sandy pummeled the New Jersey coastline, New York, and other areas of the East Coast, thousands of homes and businesses remain without power.  The latest estimates say Sandy caused between $30 to $50 billion in damage and lost productivity.  (A bit of caution -- damage estimates right after a storm often are much higher than the actual damage figures).  Sandy will be ranked only behind Hurricane Katrina in terms of damage.

Sandy has been described in many ways: a once-in-a-lifetime storm, a storm-of-the-century, superstorm or megastorm.  But was it a weather event that none of us will ever see again in our lifetimes?

On Thursday's Radio Smart Talk, we'll look at the meteorological factors that created Sandy and ask whether Sandy and other extreme weather events are evidence of a changing climate.

Among the guests appearing on the program will be Dr. Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology and Director of the Earth Science System Center at Penn State University.  Dr. Mann was also lead author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change Chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Scientific Assessment Report.  He also authored the book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars earlier this year.

ABC27 meteorologist Brett Thackara will also join us to discuss the conditions that created such a powerful storm.

Do you think climate change contributed to Sandy?

Listen to the program:

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-11-15 09:26

    Email from Michele:

    Hasn't the climate always been changing? Wasn't Greenland actually "green" a few hundred years ago?

    I'm in no way suggesting we shouldn't be ecologically responsible.

    I think there is just a lot of fear injected into some aspects of climate change that we just can't affect.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-11-15 09:29

    Email from Jim:

    Leaving politics aside, are there any credible scientific arguments that man mad climate change is NOT affecting our weather?

    If so, what are they?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-11-15 09:30

    Email From Thomas; Lancaster Co,(Manheim TWP)

    What does this mean for winter weather i.e. snow fall could this area be looking at larger winter(snow) storms.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-11-15 09:35

    Email From John, Wernersville:
    Please explain to me how C02 is responsible for climate change when C02 represents only ½ of 1% of the earth’s atmospheric makeup.

  • Ryan Smith img 2012-11-15 09:40

    Back in 2003 when I was a senior at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho I took a class called Climatology. As a Visual Communications major this was a bit out of my wheelhouse, but in the midst of my peers talking about climate change I thought it would be a good idea to study the science behind climate. My professor, Dr. Von Walden did an incredible job of explaining/teaching the science and mechanisms driving our climate.

    In my opinion, the evidence exists to say that humans in fact are contributing to a change in our planets climate. Dr. Walden has been studying ice cores taken from Antarctica for years and the evidence is non-refutable that there is indeed a changing trend. I don't think it's possible to say that Hurricane Sandy was a direct result of climate change, but I think that is actually irrelevant. Any weather event could be a result of a changing climate. What we need to be talking about is how we are going to change our energy consumption and behavior over the immediate and longer term.

    Thanks for having this program! If there is one good thing to come from Sandy, it is that climate change has re-entered our national conversation.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-11-15 09:42

    Email From Ed, Lancaster:

    I would be interested in hearing comments on the following concerning the “Uniqueness” of Sandy:

    1821 documented hurricane hit to NYC caused water up to canal street in NYC.
    It came at low tide. Add normal high tide, full moon affect, and higher ocean level = a surge of 19.2 feet!
    1821 storm was the 5th documented storm to hit NYC area since 1815.
    Doesn’t’ seem very unique?

    If the 1938 New England hurricane had a track of about 80 miles W-SWest of what it did, there would have been a 20 foot surge up the Hudson River.
    Again, Sandy doesn’t seem quite so unique.

    BTW, the 1’ ocean level raise follows the end of the Little Ice Age, which cooled, and shrank the oceans.

    An ice-free Arctic Ocean may have added to the weather effects of Sandy, but there are many pictures of U.S. subs surfacing in clear water at the North Pole!
    Again, not so unique a weather situation.