Despite all the negative press climate change gets, according to new research, catastrophes like Superstorm Sandy may decrease, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.
However, scientists do predict larger hurricanes and more frequent, intense storms – probably Category 3 and higher. New York and the eastern seaboard, however, will be spared of taking any more direct hits.
Researchers used climate models that take into account greenhouse gas emissions up to the year 2100 in order to determine if the atmospheric conditions in the future will be more or less likely to steer a storm like Sandy westwards into the Atlantic coast.
According to the model, occurrences like Sandy will become an even rarer event, and instead the changing jet stream and atmospheric conditions will push storms even farther out to sea. By all expert accounts, Sandy was a freak storm, an anomaly that usually only happens every 700 years or so.
But for all the good news that superstorms like Sandy will spare major metropolises along the eastern seaboard, there is growing evidence that hurricanes are becoming more and more intense and larger and larger. Stronger winds, heavier rainfall, and greater paths of devastation are all side effects of climate change.
So the findings are a mixed bag. Yes, freak superstorms like Sandy will wreak havoc on the east coast less frequently, but devastation from hurricanes will increase.