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Friday, October 26, 2012

SANDY THE FRANKENSTORM?

Hurricane Sandy shows all the potential of becoming a real problem and future mega disaster movie.  Remember Perfect Storm, the film starring George Clooney?  Exactly twenty years ago, Hurricane Grace played the role of Sandy in the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991.  In the book by Sebastian Junger, the Andrea Gail, skippered by Clooney, sank in a wave that could have been a 100 feet tall.  This really happened.  That storm created damages of $200 million ($330 million today), killed 13 and damaged hundreds of homes.

It could have been worse, as the eye of the storm itself only made landfall at the very end and over Canada:


Hurricane Sandy is projected to strike the Eastern Seaboard, probably somewhere between Virginia Beach and Atlantic City, but perhaps New York City:


But the band of uncertainty is very broad.  The effect will be widespread, as Sandy is 1600 miles wide, a distance from Los Angeles to Memphis.  Halloween eve (which, worse, is when the Moon is full, meaning higher tides and more monsters) and night will be a mess and the brunt of the impact might actually occur on the same day, November 1, as that '91 Perfect Storm.

The problem is not only Sandy from the East.  There is an Arctic cold front moving in from the Northwest and high Gulf moisture from the South.  Those are the ingredients for a perfect storm.  Thus, as I reported yesterday, a hurricane with snow.  The focus this time will not be in the Atlantic Ocean, but over major cities, such as New York.  Power could be lost for weeks.  A bit of overdramatization, but better to be ready than not.

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1 comment:

Jim Baird said...

Pat a hurricane is Nature's response to an overheating ocean.

We would be wise to use the analogy to produce all of the renewable energy we will ever need and drawdown the ocean's lethal potential in the process.

Bill Gates has it half right calling for the dumping of surface heat to the depths to siphon off the hurricane's power source. A heat pipe is the fastest and most effective way to do this and by sticking a turbine in the centre of the vapour channel you create a heat engine.

Such an approach overcomes virtually all of the drawbacks associated with conventional OTEC.

Why OTEC's potential for cooling the ocean's surface, whose heat will have significant impact on phytoplankton in tropical waters according to a study published yesterday - http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-and-rising-ocean-temperatures-threaten-ocean-food-chain-15153 - is not highlighted escapes me.