After the Storm

If you’ve wondered why I haven’t posted anything about Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath on the East Coast, here are my thoughts. Obviously, my heart goes out to all of those who’ve lost loved ones or their homes or otherwise been injured in the storm. New York is the richest city in the richest state in the United States. I have every confidence that its public officials will be able to cope with the problems the hurricane brought with it. The impression I’ve received from the recent remarks by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is that they are just now coming to a realization of the full scope of damage their state and city have sustained. I think they’re a bit late to the party but better late than never, I guess. Given New York’s status I think it’s pretty hard to make a case for substantial federal aid to New York after the initial emergency response.

New Jersey is another case. Much of northeastern New Jersey is a sort of bedroom community for New York. It’s not nearly as prosperous as its neighbor and there’s been an enormous of damage there. Being an elder in a high rise in New Jersey, never a bed of roses, is probably a pretty bad thing to be right about now. I wouldn’t be surprised if New Jersey is going to need considerable help to recover. New Jersey’s governor knows which side his bread is butter on and has been responding appropriately.

It’s hard not to sound like a Grinch in saying it but Sandy isn’t the worst hurricane ever to strike New York and New Jersey. It’s just the most severe hurricane that’s struck the Mid-Atlantic recently. The Long Island Express back in 1938 was a more severe storm with greater loss of life by an order of magnitude. Big, serious storms come along every couple of decades and have done for as long as anybody knows. The relatively mild weather of the last couple of decades has lulled people into a false sense of security but the reality is that nature is tremendously powerful and its power is always there.

I think the willingness of New York officials immediately to leap on the global warming band wagon over Hurricane Sandy is unbecoming and hysterical. Whatever the reality of global warming, big storms have happened before and happened long before there was any threat of global warming. I might add that Chicago has been getting more than 80% of its power from carbon-free sources for more than 30 years; New York gets 30% of its power from carbon-free sources. If New York’s governor is worried about releasing carbon into the atmosphere, he might think about starting at home.

58 comments… add one
  • I’m so adapted to the darn things by now, global warming is the last thing I think about when one comes along.

    I honestly believe that sun activity is driving the climate right now, and human contribution is piddling.

  • TastyBits

    For many people Hurricane Sandy was a political event. Mayor Bloomberg will never know what the people of Staten Island will experience. He has enough money to circumvent the red tape and bureaucracy they will experience. Government assistance comes with strings. To him this is a chance to push one of his causes.

    Republicans will use this as an opportunity to get payback for Hurricane Katrina and President Bush. I would like to know what Governor Christie’s position on FEMA and government assistance was seven years ago, and I notice Mitt Romney has been silent on these also. I am still waiting for the calls to de-populate NYC.

    Democrats will use this to justify for bigger government. They will of course find no problem with the government response as long as Obama is President. They have no idea of what the impact of the government will be, and they do not care. Shovel some money at the problem and walk away. How these communities are affected is not their problem.

  • Ben Wolf

    @Janis Gore

    Solar activity has been jnusually weak for the last eight years, on top of a repatively flat sixty-year trend. For the sun to be responsible we’d be seeing massive solar cycles, and they just aren’t there.

    We’re doing it.

  • Science as we know it is a short term thing. Particularly when you argue for evolution.

    What we know about the sun is what we’ve figured out how to measure.

  • Ben Wolf

    @Janis Gore

    Arguing global warming is being caused by some unknown force for which we have no evidence is no different than claiming that ghosts are doing it, or it’s the wrath of god. That’s the definition of denial, when we throw the scientific method out the window because we don’t like its conclusions.

  • Remember, I’m a biologist by early training.

  • We could be doing it, but I have my doubts. We are living on a small planet in a large magnetic force field. The earth’s atmosphere is a thin shell in the solar system.

  • Ben Wolf

    @Janis Gore

    No one has yet constructed a model which accounts for the warming without anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Not even skeptics. That doesn’t give you pause? CO2 traps heat, there’s no way around this. For the primary cause of our warming to not be CO2, it would have to:

    A) be a type of forcing which completely overrides the greenhouse effect of all anthropogenic CO2 we’ve pumped into the atmosphere.

    B) after overriding the greenhouse effect it would have to then warm the planet by 0.8C.

    I think you know the above scenario is very unlikely.

  • TastyBits

    @Janis Gore

    Most of the people with an opinion on Global Warming have no scientific background to even begin to understand the complexity of the Earth’s science. They rely upon someone else’s judgment, but they have no way to validate correctness of that judgement. I liken them to a blind man picking the best judge of a beauty contest.

    The oceans are enormous heat-sinks, and they are sitting above a core of molten rock. The Gulf Stream, El Nino, and La Nina have massive effects on the climate. The Little Ice Age was a result in the disruption of the Gulf Stream.

    I have not seen much about friction. The layers of the atmosphere and the ocean currents result in massive amounts of friction. The Earth creates a large amount of heat, and gas is a poor conductor of heat. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, but it is discounted for CO2.

    The thermodynamics of the CO2 as a cause in global warming is a joke. Half the incoming heat waves are absorbed by the ground, but all the outgoing heat waves are reflected back to the ground.

    As you noted, there is the Earth’s magnetic field and its interaction with solar radiation. This is usually indication of how well a person understands the science.

  • No one has yet constructed a model which accounts for the warming without anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Have any of them come up with a model that accounts for what we’re seeing? I mean a close match, not just something that shows warming. Or can give insight into past periods of warm weather? Arguing that the scientists have it 100% nailed down seems worse than futile.

  • Ben Wolf


    1). Friction didn’t start in the 20th Century.

    2) The earth’s core does not and cannot explain our warming trend. Unless you have some evidence it suddenly got way hotter down there.

    3). Oceans absorb more infrared radiation than land. Radiation reflected back into space falls as CO2 concentrations increase and is re-emitted back toward the earth’s surface. That’s why our sattelites show less radiation going out than coming in and have also tracked a growing energy imbalance.

    4). “As you noted, there is the Earth’s magnetic field and its interaction with solar radiation.”

    So what? There is zero evidence of radiation from our magnetic field changing in a manner which can alter the climate.

  • See, Ben? You’re arguing that the thin shell overcomes vast dynamics.

  • You’re arguing magazine stuff. We’re talking big science.

  • Ben Wolf

    @Janis Gore

    1) What evidence is there for space weather causing global warming?

    2) It sounds as though you’re denying the existence of the greenhouse effect. Is that correct?

  • The earth has always been a greenhouse of one kind or another. One of the things the models are not accounting for is water vapor and precipitation.

    They don’t know how to do that yet.

  • The active scientists at their conferences admit it. Read Ron Bailey at Reason.

  • Ben Wolf

    @Janis Gore

    Now I’m getting confused. All models take water vapor into account and it’s a very well understood phenomenon. The amount of vapor in the atmosphere is dependent on atmospheric temperatures. This means that water vapor is a feedback, not a forcing. It cannot drive global warming

  • Go read Ron Bailey at Reason and get back to me, okay?

  • Go find out what the scientists are saying when they’re not up for publication.

  • When you’re dealing with mathematical models you deal with a lot of variables. They can’t set the variable yet.

  • I have more than enough math, know more than enough about model-building, and know enough science to be able to form a reasonably informed opinion on the subject of global warming. Do I think that human activity is affecting climate? Sure. Do I think that the policy prescriptions that have been put forward will do anything material about the situation? No.

    I also think that anybody who thinks that global warming can be seriously reduced solely by changing the behavior of the lowest 90% of income earners in the U. S. hasn’t thought enough about the problem to put forward a policy prescription.

  • Just a note, Dave, my manager was a trained physicist from Delphi, India. Sam Kumar. Great guy. We shared many a meal together. And a bottle of champagne or two one New Year’s.

  • That was at the telephone company. He knew FORTRAN.

  • Ben Wolf

    @Janis Gore,

    Seriously, this is how you’re going with this? First is an appeal to authority. Then you make a blind accusation of fraud by the world’s climatologists. Then we’re back to “I don’t know what it is, but I know it isn’t us.”

    Let me ask you a question. What would it take for you to accept that warming is anthropogenic?

  • I’m not saying it’s not. I’m saying we don’t know enough to directly ascribe causes and, as Dave says, create policy prescriptions based upon them.

    Personally, because of health problems of both miners and users, I’d like to see the use of coal cut down.

    I went to Shanghai in about “92 and saw the heaters the people there were using to stay warm in unusually cold temperatures. It’s horrendous.

    I myself live in a small town. If I have to drive more than ten miles in any direction, it’s too far.

    Since my husband died, and the kids moved out I’ve reduced air-conditioning and heat use to a minimum. I don’t use an electric can opener or an electric knife.

    I wash on cold and dry on moderate.

    What the hell do you want me to do?

  • And that’s not a blind accusation of fraud. They literally don’t know how to do it.

    They’re doing the best they can with what they think is true. It’s the editorial period that gets them. They’re used to writing theses.

  • Ben Wolf

    @Janis Gore

    Ok. So what would it take for you to accept anthropogenic global warming?

  • What the hell do you want me to do?

    Well, presumably the warmists want you to stop eating meat, grow your own veg, and only wear clothes made from cotton you grew yourself and picked, processed, and fashioned into clothes with your own hands.

    More seriously, there’s nothing you can do. If the U. S. stopped using fossil fuels entirely right now while China and India continued at their present rates of increasing use, global warming would still get worse.

  • Whether I accept it or not, what do you want me to do?

  • As for that, I’ll put up a picture of the garden shortly.

  • Hell. I had my house audited. Go read Gone South. We replaced windows, lined the air conditioning duct, changed to CFLs where needed. Bought baffles for pot lights. Had installation installed.

    Now I’m getting a new roof with a linear vent.

    Now, what do you want me to do?

  • “Installation installed.” Blown fiberglass insulation.

  • And don’t even begin with me on Al Gore.

  • Al Gore told me a few years back that the core of the Earth was very hot, millions of degrees. That is considerably warmer than when I was in grade school back in the 1970s.

  • Boy, I told you I didn’t spend the equivalent of $150,000 education for nothing.

  • The family even owned about 500 acres of timber to offset expenses.
    Young pines absorb a lot of carbon dioxide.

  • TastyBits

    @Ben Wolf

    I do not have time to get into a lengthy discussion. If you want to find human causes for the planet’s warming, I would suggest looking at deforestation as a contributor.

    The Earth’s magnetic field is important because it affects electromagnetic waves. I would expect the polar shifts to have some impact on the climate, but I have not seen this addressed.

    I suspect that the changes in the Earth’s axis tilt, rotational speed, and orbital path are factors, but to my knowledge, there has been little or no consideration of these.

    The Earth has been much colder and much warmer than it is today, and in the future, it will be much colder and warmer than it is today. Over millions of years, CO2 levels have risen and fallen without corresponding frostline and/or glacial changes. (Trying to ascertain a temperature prior to 150-200 years ago is silly.)

    To my knowledge, not much is known about previous cooling and warming, but it is known that the oceans are one of the major factors. The oceans cover the vast majority of the Earth’s surface, and water is a very good conductor of heat.

    There are various locations under the oceans where heat from the Earth’s core is released. This heat is transported through the currents, and these same currents generate friction causing heat.

    Particulate matter from volcanoes and asteroid impacts are also factors. As the Earth cools, the feedback loops cause it to begin a warming process. The warming process causes feedback loops to begin a cooling process. These tend to over/undershoot the “optimal” temperature.

    The usual and unusual factors affecting the climate are not fully known, and most of the interaction between them are unknown. Global Warming / Climate Change theories are to science what the Easy-Bake Oven is to cooking. Personally, it looks to me like children making mud pies and trying to sell them at a bakery.

    Real science is not based upon a consensus. Einstein’s theories were not accepted because of a vote. Gravity affecting light was a nice theory until the effect was photographed during an eclipse. Various aspects of String Theory are being validated, but the number of dimensions still differs. This will not be determined by a vote among Theoretical Physicists. It will be determined by empirical evidence.

  • TastyBits

    @Janis Gore

    I had a radiant heat barrier installed, and it has cut my electric bill about 40%. Whenever I can afford new windows, I expect it to drop again. I want the hurricane-proof ones, but the ain’t cheap.

  • Wow.

  • That’s where you line the ceiling of the roof ?

  • No they ain’t cheap.

    Ours cost somewhere aroung $5300, I’d say. I need to look up a receipt. And a screen. One of the sons dragged one out without asking how to.

    I can’t even find it anymore.

  • TastyBits

    @Janis Gore

    It is a thin sheet of rigid plastic with a foil covering. We saw it at a home show during the troubling times. They demonstrated it with a heat lamp, and with it between the lamp and your hand, it was cool. They had fiberglass, but it only blocked a little of the heat.

    My wife did not want to put anything in the attic because of the heat, and that was the major reason I had it installed. So far, the highest it has gotten is 102 deg., and she is happy. In the past, it would get hot enough to melt candles, and she was not happy with me about that.

  • How much does that cost? I have about 2100 sq. ft.

    We considered it after seeing it on HGTV.

  • Ben Wolf

    “Well, presumably the warmists want you to stop eating meat, grow your own veg, and only wear clothes made from cotton you grew yourself and picked, processed, and fashioned into clothes with your own hands.”

    Yeah, that really helps the discussion along.

    “I also think that anybody who thinks that global warming can be seriously reduced solely by changing the behavior of the lowest 90% of income earners in the U. S. hasn’t thought enough about the problem to put forward a policy prescription.”

    Who is saying they think this?


    Well so far you’ve blamed global warming on:

    Electromagnetic fields

    So its the standard “throw it all amd hope something sticks” defense.

  • TastyBits

    @Janis Gore

    They line the attic under the roof.

    Our house is full of windows. If it were not for the cheap Walmart mini-blinds, we would still have the brown contractor shades. The quote was for about $5k, but that was the lower end ones. They were double panes, but they were plain. We could not afford them, and now I want the hurricane proof ones.

  • We use cheap Walmart miniblinds, too. I can’t stand drapes. They collect dust.

    No, about the radiant barriers. How much does that run?

  • Who is saying they think this?

    Anybody whose prescriptions for solving the problem consist of cap and trade, U. S.-only plans, with a little clean energy thrown in. In other words the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Obama Administration. I might add that carbon taxes, which I have favored for decades, would mostly affect the lower income earners here who are producing significantly less in the way of greenhouse gases than those upper income earners. Unfortunately from my point of view, they’re an idea whose time has passed.

    If you’ve seen proposals other than ones that would fall most heavily on people in the lower income brackets, I’d certainly be interested in seeing them.

    The problem now is that greenhouse gas production in the U. S. is flat or declining, China’s and India’s are rising, and neither of those countries see any reason they should be doing anything differently. The idea that China will change its policies based on some sort of responsible leadership from the U. S. is just ignorant.

  • I always loved Barbara Streisand’s admoninition to housewives to dry outdoors.

  • We’d be mildewed here in three days, if the squirrels hadn’t eaten everything they could get their paws on.

  • TastyBits

    @Ben Wolf

    I rarely get into a discussion about Global Warming / Climate Change. The number factors that affect the climate is more than one – many more. My dogs believe that their barking scares off the mailman. With a combined weight of 25 pounds, I suspect the mailman would win, but they still do not understand the language I am using.

    Climate science is complex, and it is as complex as String Theory. Physics is far more well understood, but 10, 11, and infinite dimensions are presently posited. Prior to this, 6, 7, 9, and 9 dimensions were considered, and some of these may still be considered.

    At some point a large asteroid is going to impact the Earth, and it is going to have a profound effect. This is a far more worrisome event, but I do not find too many people getting worked up. The science is fairly easy to grasp, but that is probably the problem.

    The sun has begun a cycle of activity that is causing a cooling period. This science is much better understood, but it is far unlikely that it “settled”.

    Global Warming / Climate Change is a political issue, and it will go out of style. At this point, the actual science can begin. One thing that is certain. The science will change. Science is never settled. Newton was superseded, and Einstein is being superseded. The Catholic Church does not take a scientific position anymore. There is a reason for this. Ask Galileo.

  • Those South Louisiana boys have stupendous charm.

    My boy was from Columbia.

  • TastyBits

    @Janis Gore

    I think it was about $3,5oo, but there was a lot goinng on at that time. The house is officially 1650 sq. ft., but it is probably about 1575. I am guessing the cost was about $1.75 – 2.00 per sq ft, but the surface area of the roof is greater than the floor.

    It is two sided, and it should radiate the heat back during winter. I think the lowest I recorded was in the 50’s, but the cold is not really a problem. Also, my attic has always has fiberglass insulation.

    On of our friends has a raised house, and he installed one under part of his kitchen. During the winter, he says there is a large difference. I made sure it is not an electric heated floor.

    What you should do is to put an electric thermometer in your attic. It will record the high and low temperatures. You may be able to store those boots up there.

  • Thank you, Sweet.

  • Before I go that run, I’d like ceiling fans in the three bedrooms. This house was built in ’62, and actually has cross ventilation, if you do it right. It can be very comfortable here under the oaks if you have a breeze at 85.

  • It can be very comfortable here under the oaks if you have a breeze at 85.

    Come on, Janis, 85 degrees _IS_ cool weather!

  • I’ve actually tested it to about 87. It’s the still, humid days at 88 and up that get you.

    That’s when Southern women grow moist and languid and Texas women just get bitchy.

  • That’s when Southern women grow moist and languid and Texas women just get bitchy.

    LOL! And I ended up marrying a Nordic Puerto Rican* from California! They just get cranky in the heat.

    * You’d never guess the Puerto Rican part.

  • The fall garden:

    I need to thin radishes and greens.

Leave a Comment