In an Ed. Note to my August 30 letter “Unprecedented?”, the ICO Editor erroneously stated that Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, but by then Sandy had diminished to “post-tropical cyclone” strength. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed that Sandy wasn’t a hurricane when it hit the US.
Hurricane insurance policies have deductibles that would have been triggered if Sandy had still been a named hurricane at the time of landfall, and if hurricane warnings were in effect. However, neither of those conditions were met.
The ICO compared “apples to oranges” to call Sandy the second costliest “hurricane” in US history. When adjusted not only for inflation, but for population and city growth and higher living standards, Sandy is actually only sixth in terms of dollar losses (Katrina is second). In terms of deaths Sandy doesn’t even make the US top ten, or the top 100 for Atlantic tropical cyclones since 1492.
Losses from man-made natural disasters like Katrina – human errors led to the New Orleans levee failures - can easily exceed natural disaster costs. For example, 9/11 costs are estimated conservatively at over a trillion dollars, or over 20 Sandys. Sandy was also a man-made natural disaster due to building in a known storm-vulnerable area.
The bad news for natural climate change deniers is that, for the first time (since 2002), there have been no Atlantic hurricanes through August, and that accumulated cyclone energy in the Atlantic is about 30 percent of normal.
For “hiatus” deniers, the absence of increased global warming is now 17 years. Central England records show the 2013 temperature is about the same as 1850, at the end of the Little Ice Age.
It’s hard to blame warming when it isn’t warming.