From the most shocking photos to the most piercing analysis, we look at some of the best Sandy coverage this week.
Before and after pix
Fahima Haque at the Washington Post brings us eleven stomach-twisting sets of Hurricane Sandy images, from New York City to Chincoteague. I’ll let the 22,000-word equivalent speak for itself.
Now imagine that flood would never recede—that the seawater infiltration is the new normal. That’s the kind of thing 3D maps from the Architecture 2030 report “Nation Under Siege” show us.
Jason Plautz at InsideClimate News talks about the striking similarity between images of post-Sandy NYC and the future reality of the city due to permanent sea-level rise. A long article but worth every minute. And check out 3D images of more cities on the Architecture 2030 website.
Making the case for resilience in coastal cities
Worldwide, we can’t afford to lose our coastal metropolises, many of which are not only population centers but also global financial powerhouses. Richard Florida and Sara Johnson look at what it’s going to take to mitigate risk to some of our most precious assets over at The Atlantic Cities.
“Are we putting the global economy's trillions of eggs in the largest electronic basket ever constructed?” asks one of the climate scientists quoted in the piece. The authors propose that Sandy represents an “opportunity to rethink infrastructure in terms of resilience, and not just rebuild it as it was.”
Our own Alex Wilson makes much the same argument at his new Resilient Design Institute blog. “For the sake of those who may be affected by the next Sandy or Irene or Katrina, let’s hope that this can be a wake-up call for us all!” he writes.
And for a more resilient power grid everywhere
Sandy is also a wakeup call that we need to improve our electrical distribution infrastructure nationwide, argues Katie Fehrenbacher at GigaOM.
“The stark contrasts between the resiliency of our data communication networks and our power grid in these situations is unnerving,” she says.
“The power grid is highly vulnerable — it’s still largely a centralized system, with little energy storage capacity at the edges of the network, and it still lacks a lot of the intelligence that Internet architecture has that can deliver self-healing and re-route around damaged systems.”
The smart grid, she says, will be not only cleaner and more efficient but also more resilient during disasters and other disruptive events.
But you can’t attribute weather to climate change!
By now, maybe you’re thinking that any given weather event can’t be chalked up to climate change. And while that’s still strictly true, there is no doubt that climate change is influencing our weather routinely.
Stephen Lacey and Joe Romm at Climate Progress say that “Did climate change cause Sandy?” is the wrong question. “Like [with] a baseball player on steroids, it’s the wrong question to ask whether a given home run is ‘caused’ by steroids,” they contend. Warmer oceans, melting arctic ice, moister air, and other factors will continue to contribute to stronger, bigger storms that will continue to come farther north more often than they used to.