What Can We Learn From Hurricane Sandy? - Courant.com
Kerry Emanuel, a scientist with NOAA, said that it was only in the last 10 years that meteorologists have developed a set of objective data to definitively identify hybrid storms such as Sandy. While much work has been done on looking at the frequency of conventional hurricanes, little has been done in considering whether hybrid storms are increasing either in frequency or intensity.
"What Sandy did was to remind my colleagues and I that we haven't done our homework," he said. "We don't really know if they've increased. We don't know. But we should be able to know."
Scientists have been singling out and anatomizing storms for research long before Sandy. Kevin E. Trenberth of the Climate Analysis Section at the USA National Center for Atmospheric Research, was part of a team that created a similar model for Hurricane Katrina, tweaking certain circumstances to see how outcomes might have changed.
"We fiddled with the sea temperatures to see what it did to the storm," he said. "We were able to quantify at the time that maybe the global warming component added maybe one inch of rain. You can still say that it's only 10 percent, but if it's one inch on top of 11, it contributes to the risk that it will break the levees."