Cape Town - Human-induced climate change will make extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy the norm and not the exception in the future, international conservation group WWF has warned.
Saying that loading Earth’s atmosphere with carbon pollution was “like putting an athlete on steroids”, the group urged people everywhere – “and especially our present and future leaders” – to recognise that this storm was the latest sign that climate change was “a real and dangerous threat”.
While it was deeply saddened by the loss of life and extensive damage, it hoped it would lead to “a serious conversation” in America.
The storm was the latest example of a long line of unusual, extreme weather events around the world that were becoming more frequent or severe, WWF noted.
“Atlantic hurricanes in the fall [autumn] are nothing new, but Sandy was energised by October sea surface temperatures that were among the warmest on record off the US mid-Atlantic coast. And its final westward track was influenced by high pressure patterns that a growing body of evidence links to record low sea ice in the Arctic.”
Saying communities would continue to face rising sea levels and changing weather patterns, often including more intense storms and heavier rains, it also argued that the tools necessary to face this challenge were available.
“If we use the best science as our guide and recognise the significant changes ahead, we can lessen some of the risks from future superstorms. At the same time, we must also sharply reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are fuelling climate disruptions.” - Cape Argus