Superstorms to become the norm, not the exception



Posted on 01 November 2012
WWF is deeply saddened by the loss of life and extensive damage to property and key infrastructure caused by Superstorm Sandy. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragic event.

We wish all of those affected a quick recovery that not only restores what has been lost, but creates communities that are stronger, more resilient and better prepared for the future. Communities will continue to face rising sea levels and changing weather patterns, often including more intense storms and heavier rains.

If we use the best science as our guide and recognise the significant changes ahead, we can lessen some of the risks from future superstorms. At the same time, we must also sharply reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are fuelling climate disruptions.

Sandy is the latest example of unusual extreme weather in a long line of such recent events around the world which are becoming more frequent or severe.

Loading the atmosphere with carbon pollution is like putting an athlete on steroids. Atlantic hurricanes in the fall are nothing new, but Sandy was energised by October sea surface temperatures that were among the warmest on record off the US mid-Atlantic coast. And its final westward track was influenced by high pressure patterns that a growing body of evidence links to record low sea ice in the Arctic.

Unfortunately, climate change will make extreme weather events like Sandy the norm, and not the exception.

We therefore urge people everywhere, and especially our present and future leaders, to recognise Sandy as the latest sign that climate change is a real and dangerous threat – and to lead a serious conversation in America about how to respond.

We have the tools necessary to face this challenge. Now is the time to make climate change a priority for our communities, for our nation and for the world by preparing for more extreme weather patterns, embracing renewable energy, and curbing our emissions to avoid more disruptive future changes. 
A hurricane photographed in orbit above the Earth from the International Space Station
© ESA / T. Reiter Enlarge
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