You knew this was coming. From Bill McKibben:
Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming.
As she roars up the Eastern Seaboard, everyone is doing what they should—boarding windows, preparing rescue plans, stocking up on batteries. But a lot of people are also wondering: what’s a “tropical” storm doing heading for the snow belt?
Only one Category 3 Storm has hit Long Island since the 1800s; that was the great unnamed storm of 1938, which sent 15-foot storm waters surging through what are now multimillion-dollar seaside homes.
While hurricanes in the Northeast have been rare lately, they were much more common when global temperatures were cooler. Via Wikipedia, here is a list of hurricanes that have struck New York City and caused significant damage:
- September 23, 1875
- August 19, 1788
- October 9, 1804
- September 16, 1816
- September 3, 1821
- October 13, 1846
- October 6, 1849
- October 28, 1872
Now, here is a graph of world temperatures back to 1846 which is as far back as these records go:
So, it is safe to say the cause and effect, if any, is the opposite of what Mr. McKibben is proposing. Global warming seems to decrease hurricanes in the Northeast.