But Sandy has made the current situation worse. For example, the beach on New York City‘s Rockaway peninsula, which we featured here recently in a story about the community’s historic bungalows, “was almost completely washed away,” according to the article. And there has been much, much more: as we write, Sandy has killed at least 106 people in the United States. Power outages now stand at about 1.4 million homes and businesses, down from a peak of 8.5 million.
Even without violent storms, of course, we have a significantly warmer climate and droughts to deal with. As we reported a few months ago, over the past 50 years our average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. Scientists say that under current trends, average US temperatures could be 3 to 9 degrees higher by the end of the century. While the year-to-year rates of warming have varied and will probably continue to vary, perhaps even with some years of apparent leveling or even slight decreases, few dispute that the overall trend is significantly upward. This affects ocean levels and currents and wind patterns in ways that can increase the severity of storms.
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