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Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Big Apple Hurricanes

By World Climate Report

Imagine if a large hurricane struck New York City during this tropical cyclone season – the devastation would be incredible and during and following the disastrous event, global warming would undoubtedly be blamed for the all that happened to the Big Apple. Believe it or not, this will happen sometime in the not-so-distant future, it’s a virtual lock! New York City has been struck many times in the past by tropical cyclones, and it is just a matter of time before another hurricane passes directly over the city.

As we have detailed many times in the past, there is a considerable debate in the climate community regarding the future of hurricane activity. Nonetheless, should a large hurricane pass over downtown Manhattan, scientists promoting the greenhouse link would breathlessly appear on our televisions 24 hours a day.

A recent article in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems by geological scientists at Brown University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution focuses on hurricanes in New York City (well, western Long Island). Four documented strong hurricanes (Category 2 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) with high storm surges (~3 meters) have made landfall in the New York City area since 1693 with the last occurring in 1893. They correctly note in terms of any linkage with sea surface temperatures (SSTs), “Interestingly, several major hurricanes occur in the western Long Island record during the latter part of the Little Ice Age (~1550–1850 A.D.) when SSTs were generally colder than present. According to paleoclimate estimates, SSTs were likely 2 °C cooler than present in the Caribbean, 1°C cooler than present in the Florida Keys during the latter part of the Little Ice Age, and 1°C cooler than present during the 17th and 18th centuries at the Bermuda Rise.” Read full report here.


Most significant Big Apple landfalls occurred in 1693, 1788, 1821, and 1893.

Posted on 10/09 at 03:04 PM
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