For days, weather forecasters gave their viewers a lot of trees when it came to coverage of Hurricane Sandy. We learned about the speed of the storm, its famous left turn, its millibars and its (quite accurately portrayed) destructive potential.
Now people are asking for more forest. Climate-change forest, that is.
Is Sandy the creature of a warming planet?
First comes the forecasting; then comes the event; post-game analysis is only just now starting, to judge from the responses of a couple of organizations. Weather Channel spokeswoman Shirley Powell says, in effect, to tune in for just such coverage over the coming days:
Climate change informed our forecasting of this storm from the beginning. We have been completely focused on saving lives and property as the storm approached and was hitting, but as the storm passes, you will see more discussion of this topic in our coverage on TV and online. We have two prominent bloggers that have passionately discussed this topic in the past — Jeff Masters and Stu Ostro.
An NBC News source strikes a similar tone, noting that “our top priority at this point is to focus on the aftermath, recovery, and ongoing threats in the wake of the storm, but as we approach the question of potential causes, we’ll certainly do so from a scientific perspective.”
Bob Ryan, the longtime meteorologist at WJLA-TV in Washington, argues that climate change is all but baked into all postmortems of large storms in this day and age: “In a warmer world with more moisture in the air, there is a bit of climate change in every storm.”