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Earth Science

Superstorm Sandy Shook the Earth 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the shivers-down-the-spine-of-the-world dept.
sciencehabit writes "When Superstorm Sandy struck the United States on 30 October, it didn't just devastate the Eastern Seaboard, it shook the ground as far away as the West Coast, producing tiny vibrations in Earth's crust that were picked up by seismometers there. Scientists can use this activity to track the path of the storm. Now, they say that analyzing past records of these vibrations may help them discern whether climate change has influenced the amount of storminess over the world's oceans in recent decades."
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Superstorm Sandy Shook the Earth

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It should be simple enough to check for increased or decreased storminess through satellite images and records.

    If you're trying to find another proxy then you're not getting the results you want from the available proxies.

    • by beschra (1424727) on Friday April 19, 2013 @01:22PM (#43495215)

      I'll feed the troll.

      One thing that's probably very difficult to measure from satellite images is energy in a storm, which I would think would be an important part of measuring storminess. I'd think that knowing how far the impact extended through the earth would be very helpful in measuring energy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As per the article, they're also planning to look at data from the pre-satellite era, and can use seismic data to fill in any gaps in the satellite network.

      • by Troed (102527) on Friday April 19, 2013 @01:40PM (#43495411) Homepage Journal

        Here's a graph on total cyclone energy over time. The global warming signal should be easily spotted:

        http://policlimate.com/tropical/global_running_ace.png [policlimate.com]

        • Obviously Clinton's and Bush's (both) fault. Under our wonderful new stewardship it's lower than it was 30 years ago :-/

          • by Fesh (112953)

            Looks like it fluctuates with the sunspot cycle... Needs to be controlled for that to produce any useful conclusions.

            • There's also more to measuring storms than just counting tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones need specific sea surface and atmospheric condition to form, warming things up may not necessarily change their numbers or strength, For example if for some reason upper atmosphere turbulence (jet streams) increased more than surface level turbulence you would expect less cyclones since they cannot form when a jet stream "cuts the top off". However, simple thermodynamics says the atmosphere as a whole will become m
              • by Troed (102527)

                but insurance records of storm damage are probably a better way to detect any meaningful change in storm damage.

                In studying hurricanes, we can make rough comparisons over time by adjusting past losses to account for inflation and the growth of coastal communities. If Sandy causes $20 billion in damage (in 2012 dollars), it would rank as the 17th most damaging hurricane or tropical storm (out of 242) to hit the U.S. since 1900—a significant event, but not close to the top 10. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 tops the list (according to estimates by the catastrophe-insurance provider ICAT), as it would cause $1

      • I'm just glad that we're utilizing the new standardized "storminess" metric to track global warming.
  • Please stop (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Whatanut (203397) on Friday April 19, 2013 @01:19PM (#43495173)

    Plesae stop calling it "super storm". It was unusual for that area. That is all. It was no where near has large a storm as have been seen in other places.

    • Re:Please stop (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Friday April 19, 2013 @01:36PM (#43495355) Homepage Journal

      Plesae stop calling it "super storm". It was unusual for that area. That is all. It was no where near has large a storm as have been seen in other places.

      It wasn't even unusual. Storms like Sany shaped the Eastern Seaboard. Why the continued moronic assumptions history began with European settlers?

      I'm an avid hiker and camper, covering considerable area in my exploration. Very often I take the time to examin my surroundings and wonder what forces shaped them. Sometimes the truth is hidden beneath grasses and behind trees, others the truth is fully exposed in rock outcrops, valley floors and mountain ranges. The Earth didn't stop changing, either, it's constantly changing. We're just a bink in the eye of time, though we're doing a marvelous job of paving ground, digging holes and pulling carbon back to the surface.

      Enjoy the ride.

      • "It wasn't even unusual. Storms like Sany shaped the Eastern Seaboard. Why the continued moronic assumptions history began with European settlers?"

        Two thumbs up.

        We're supposed to believe that before Europeans arrived, the Americas were an idyllic paradise, that suffered no storms, no earthquakes, no wars, no famine. Ehhh - Europeans brought all those evils here, along with smallpox and polio.

        • Re:Please stop (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ackthpt (218170) on Friday April 19, 2013 @02:39PM (#43496155) Homepage Journal

          "It wasn't even unusual. Storms like Sany shaped the Eastern Seaboard. Why the continued moronic assumptions history began with European settlers?"

          Two thumbs up.

          We're supposed to believe that before Europeans arrived, the Americas were an idyllic paradise, that suffered no storms, no earthquakes, no wars, no famine. Ehhh - Europeans brought all those evils here, along with smallpox and polio.

          Geocaching has a type of cache called Earthcache, where to log a find the geocacher must read about some feature, observe and report back to the cache owner. These really are some great eye openers in what is present, but in getting the mind working on how a feature came to be, what time was involved, how climate changed during the creation of the feature.

        • Well, at least it suffered no hordes of burning strawmen back then... ;)
        • by Mashiki (184564)

          We're supposed to believe that before Europeans arrived, the Americas were an idyllic paradise, that suffered no storms, no earthquakes, no wars, no famine. Ehhh - Europeans brought all those evils here, along with smallpox and polio.

          Yeah people like to conveniently forget too, that during the original decades that the settlers were landing the storms along the east coast of north america were so severe that half or more of the settlers died out on occasion.

      • by Holi (250190)

        See my response and consider that storms are graded on their potential not actual damage.

    • Re:Please stop (Score:4, Informative)

      by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Friday April 19, 2013 @01:40PM (#43495407)

      It became super storm when it joined up with other weather systems when it hit the north east. Prior to that it was just hurricane Sandy. Also the media needed to make the storm sound very bad to the average joe. Usually hurricanes are not that strong when they hit the north east. Many people would not and did not leave. Calling it super storm Sandy makes it sound worse to make people listen. Many people did not listen and go to higher ground. I know people who work for the Verizon. They had to go in to restore service. On some coastal towns they plowed the streets to clear the sand. In the plow banks they saw bodies. Well an arm or leg poking out of the sand.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] it was the largest hurricane (by gale diameter) ever observed in the Atlantic basin.

      Apparently there have been larger tropical storms in the Pacific. But that's kind of apples and oranges. You could also compare Jupiter's Great Red Spot, for instance.

      • Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] it was the largest hurricane (by gale diameter) ever observed in the Atlantic basin.

        Apparently there have been larger tropical storms in the Pacific. But that's kind of apples and oranges. You could also compare Jupiter's Great Red Spot, for instance.

        Then Wikipedia is wrong. It wasn't an actual hurricane. It was a tropical storm.

        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          Sorry but when Hurricane Sandy combined with the other storm by definition it was no longer considered a hurricane or tropical storm. Nevertheless there were hurricane force winds spread out over a nearly 1000 mile diameter as it neared the coast and it was the largest storm of the type ever seen in the Atlantic Ocean. So whether you call it a hurricane or not is just a matter of semantics. It still had hurricane force winds as it hit the coast.

          • Sorry, but when that particular tropical storm hit the coast it was no longer a hurricane.
            Sorry, but there were no hurricane force winds when it hit the coast.
            Sorry, but when we classify storms for the landfall event, for insurance, etc., we use the landfall event, not what it was days earlier out in the ocean.
            Sorry, but when a storm collides with another storm nothing magical happens, the resulting storm front is reclassified.
            Sorry, but it doesn't matter if it's the biggest storm to hit New York in a long

    • I prefer stormageddon, because everything these days is a 'geddon of some sort.

    • Well they were going to go with "Bigger than average storm for this area, but not quite a hurricane," but then marketing got a hold of it.
      • by Holi (250190)

        per wikipedia it was the largest hurricane (by gale diameter) ever observed in the Atlantic basin. Kinda makes you look like an ass for your ill informed comment

        • Probably because I was being an ass with my comment by making light of the fact that the name of it means absolutely nothing in reality.
    • Re:Please stop (Score:4, Informative)

      by Holi (250190) on Friday April 19, 2013 @02:55PM (#43496413)

      No the whole reason it is considered a super storm is it was th combination of two storm fronts. If they had missed, regardless of the damage it would not be called a super storm. Think of the "Perfect Storm" it wasn't called that because of the amount of damage caused, but because of the potential damage do to the power it produced. And it released an incredible amount of force, just most of it was impacted on empty ocean.

    • It was called a Superstorm partially for insurance reasons. Most if not all insurance companies have higher deductibles for a hurricane than for a regular storm. As it wasn't a hurricane when if made landfall, people decided to call it a Superstorm rather than a hurricane to prevent insurance companies from charging the hurricane deductible.

      The other reason is that it was actually made up of three different storms by the time it hit land, of which Hurricane Sandy was one. That's why some areas got blizza

    • Plesae stop calling it "super storm". It was unusual for that area. That is all. It was no where near has large a storm as have been seen in other places.

      If it had happened in any other place, no one would have given a shit.
      But since it happened in New York, the media (and New Yorkers) won't stop talking about it.

      It wasn't even a fucking hurricane!

  • Also (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sunking2 (521698) on Friday April 19, 2013 @01:36PM (#43495365)
    Scientists can now detect the vibrations from an ant walking. Ants must be becoming larger, more powerful, and are on the brink of world domination.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'll never understand the people that are so hell bent against the possibility the global warming is real, man made, and a huge problem that we are facing today.

    Say for a moment that global warming isn't real, say it's all a hoax. Would you argue our movements toward a cleaner, more energy efficient way of life is a bad thing?

    Global warming is a real measurable fact. There are significant quantities of carbon in the atmosphere that we humans released by burning oil made from carbon based lifeforms that were

    • It's the same old fight against environmental regulations that's been going on at least since American cities were choking on coal smog in the late 1800s/early 1900s and the companies doing the polluting said that breathing it was good for your health.

      • by fredrated (639554)

        the companies doing the polluting said that breathing it was good for your health.

        You mean it's not good for my health?

        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          Well, if you want to ask some current people who are experiencing the same thing you could travel to Beijing. I read an article recently that said over 1 million people in China have suffered premature deaths due to fine particle pollution, primarily soot from coal burning.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Global warming is a real measurable fact"

      No, it is not. First - where have you been the last 10 years? Hiding the decline like "Big Academia"?

      " For millions of years the carbon cycle was burying carbon and removing it slowly from the cycle"

      You don't know this. If it was being removed (and not replenished in this ambiguous guess of a time period), it should probably be gone by now, and by the 'sound' argument that a trace gas is somehow responsible for most of the heat retention of the planet, we should b

      • Why do flat out lies and/or pure ignorance get modded informative these days?
      • by riverat1 (1048260)

        In climatological terms 10 or even 15 years is pretty meaningless. Natural variation is enough to override a global warming signal in such a short time period. Get back with me in 2025 and we'll talk.

        All you have to do is look at how CO2 levels in the atmosphere has changed over those millions of years to see that the level has been slowly dropping over that time period. It's in the data.

        Without that "trace" gas the planet would be a frozen ball of ice. The main thing that supports the high levels of wa

  • by Anonymous Coward

    next thing you know, they'll start saying the explosion in west, tx and the two bombs in boston were supercastastrophic uber detonations that japanese people could feel!

  • by emag (4640)

    Sandy sure rocked my world...

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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