The political superstorm that devastated New York

Satellite View of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy ...

Satellite View of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy on Oct. 30 (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

Incompetence, stupidity, diversion, blame shifting, and false solutions to imaginary problems

Guest post by Paul Driessen

“Superstorm” Sandy killed more than 100 people, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and left millions without food, water, electricity, sanitation or shelter for days or even weeks. Our thoughts and prayers remain focused on its victims, many of whom are still grieving as they struggle with the storm’s wintry aftermath and try to rebuild their lives.

Unfortunately, too many politicians continue to use the storm to advance agendas, deflect blame for incompetence and mistakes, and obfuscate and magnify future risks from building and development projects that they have designed, promoted, permitted and profited from.

Sandy was “unprecedented,” the result of “weather on steroids,” various “experts” insist. “It’s global warming, stupid,” intoned Bloomberg BusinessWeek. “Anyone who says there is not a change in weather patterns is denying reality,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared. We must protect the great NY metropolis from rising oceans, said the Washington Post. This storm should “compel all elected leaders to take immediate action” on climate change, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pronounced.

Unfortunately for the politicians and spin-meisters, the facts do not support this obscene posturing.

North America’s northeastern coast has been battered by hurricanes and other major storms throughout history. A 1775 hurricane killed 4,000 people in Newfoundland; an 1873 monster left 600 dead in Nova Scotia; others pummeled Canada’s Maritime Provinces in 1866, 1886, 1893, 1939, 1959, 1963 and 2003.

Manhattan got pounded in 1667 and by the Great Storm of 1693. They were followed by more behemoths in 1788, 1821, 1893, 1944, 1954 and 1992. Other “confluences of severe weather events” brought killer storms like the four-day Great Blizzard of 1888. The 1893 storm largely eradicated Hog Island, and the 1938 “Long Island Express” hit LI as a category 3 hurricane with wind gusts up to 180 mph.

Experts say such winds today would rip windows from skyscrapers and cause a deadly blizzard of flying glass, masonry, chairs, desks and other debris from high-rise offices and apartments. People would seek safety in subway tunnels, where they would drown as the tunnels flood.

Sandy was merely the latest “confluence” (tropical storm, northeaster and full-moon high tide) to blast the New York-New Jersey area. It was never a matter of if, but only of when, such a storm would hit.

People, planners and politicians should have been better prepared. Instead, we are feted with statements designed to dodge responsibility and culpability, by trying to blame global warming. The reality is, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose to 391 ppm (0.0391%) today, average global temperatures have not changed in 16 years, and sea levels are rising no faster than in 1900. Even with Hurricane Sandy, November 2012 marked the quietest long-term hurricane period since the Civil War, with only one major hurricane strike on the US mainland in seven years. This is global warming and unprecedented weather on steroids?

In Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath – with millions freezing hungry in dark devastation – Mayor Bloomberg sidetracked police and sanitation workers for the NYC Marathon, until public outrage forced him to reconsider. While federal emergency teams struggled to get water, food and gasoline to victims, companies, religious groups, charities, local citizens and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie worked tirelessly to raise money and organize countless relief efforts.

Most outrageous of all, though, was how ill-prepared the region was for another major storm – and how many political decisions had virtually ensured that any repeat of the 1893, 1938, 1944 and other storms would bring devastation far worse than would likely have occurred in the absence of those decisions.

In one of the most obvious, architects, city planners, mayors and governors alike thought nothing of placing generators in the basements of hospitals and skyscrapers built in areas that are barely above sea level. Past storms have brought surges12 to 18 feet high onto Long Island, and studies have warned that a category 3 direct hit could put much of New York City and its key infrastructure under 30 feet of water. Sandy’s 9-foot surges (plus five feet of high tide) flooded those basements, rendering generators useless, and leaving buildings cold and dark. Perhaps if Mayor Bloomberg had worried less about 32-oz sodas and seas that are rising a mere foot per century, he could have devoted more time to critical issues.

The mayor has also obsessed about urban sprawl. However, when new developments mean high rents, high taxes and photo-op ground breakings, he has a different philosophy.

Mr. Bloomberg’s Arverne by the Sea initiative transformed what he called “a swath of vacant land” into a “vibrant and growing oceanfront community,” with “affordable” homes starting at $559,000. (The land was vacant because a 1950 storm wiped it clean of structures.) The new homes were built on 167 acres of land raised five feet above the surrounding Far Rockaway area. Those Arverne homes mostly survived Sandy. But the high ground caused storm surges to rise higher and move faster elsewhere than they would have on Rockaway lowlands that are always hit head-on by northward moving storms.

If Sandy had been a category 3 hurricane like its 1938 ancestor, the devastation would have been of biblical proportions – as winds, waves and surges slammed into expensive homes, businesses and high-rises, and roared up waterways rendered progressively narrower by hundreds of construction projects.

Lower Manhattan has doubled in width over the centuries. World Trade Center construction alone contributed 1.2 million cubic yards to build Battery Park City, narrowing the Hudson River by another 700 feet. The East River has likewise been hemmed in, while other water channels have been completely filled. Buildings, malls and raised roadways constructed on former potato fields, forests, grasslands and marshlands have further constricted passageways for storm surges and runoff.

As a result, storms like Sandy or the Long Island Express send monstrous volumes of water up ever more confined corridors. With nowhere else to go, the surges rise higher, travel faster and pack more power. It’s elementary physics – which governors, mayors, planners and developers ignore at their peril.

No wonder, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and other politicos prefer to talk about global warming, rising seas and worsening weather – to deflect attention and blame from decisions that have put more people in the path of greater danger. Indeed, the very notion of packing more and more people into “sustainable, energy-efficient” coastal cities in the NY-NJ area is itself madness on steroids.

Worst of all, politicians are increasingly and intentionally obscuring and misrepresenting the nature, frequency and severity of storm, flood and surge risks, so that they can promote and permit more construction in high-risk areas, and secure more money and power. They insist that they can prevent or control climate change and sea level rise, by regulating CO2 emission – while they ignore real, known dangers that have arisen before and will arise again, exacerbated by their politicized decisions.

As a result, unsuspecting business and home owners continue to buy, build and rebuild in areas that are increasingly at risk from hurricanes, northeasters and “perfect storms” of natural and political events. And as the population density increases in this NY-NJ area, the ability to evacuate people plummets, especially when roadways, tunnels and other escape routes are submerged. Let the buyer beware.

Sandy may have been a rare (but hardly unprecedented) confluence of weather events. But the political decisions and blame avoidance are an all-too-common confluence of human tendencies – worsened by the dogged determination of our ruling classes to acquire greater power and control, coupled with steadily declining transparency, accountability and liability.

How nice it must be to have convenient scapegoats like “dangerous manmade global warming” and insurance companies – today’s equivalent of the witches whom our predecessors blamed for storms, droughts, crop failures, disease and destruction. It’s time to use the witches’ brooms to clean house.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

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99 Responses to The political superstorm that devastated New York

  1. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Still… Mission accomplished. Obama won.

  2. michel says:

    Yes spot on. Not least because the US can do nothing whatever about global warming even if the IPCC is right. For a very simple reason, it is only about 15% of global emissions, and that percentage is falling as China and India ramp up. Whatever the politicians in the US do, it will have minimal effects even if the IPCC is right.

    But spot on about blaming the effects of poor land use policies on AGW.

  3. milodonharlani says:

    Add to the list of culprits the self-styled environmentalists who blocked all efforts over the decades to build a storm surge barrier across the entrances to Upper or Lower NY Bay, such as those protecting Providence, R.I. & a number of European cities.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_Point_Hurricane_Barrier#Historical_background

    The cost in treasure, let alone lives, just of Sandy greatly exceeds the construction expense of such a barrier. As if the development of NYC & environs since the 17th century hasn’t altered the environment of the region.

  4. Tom in Texas says:

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Friday approved a $60.4 billion aid package to pay for reconstruction costs from Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged mid-Atlantic and northeastern states, after defeating Republican efforts to trim the bill’s cost.

    The bill also provides $17 billion in Community Development Block Grants to help rebuild homes, schools, hospitals and other buildings destroyed by the late October storm, help small businesses and improve the power infrastructure.”

    Texas taxpayers are going to fund the rebuilding of uninsured schools and hospitals in NY & NJ?

  5. Ed Reid says:

    “Never let a crisis go to waste.”, Rahm Emanuel

    Climate might not be cooperating with the alarmists, but weather still can.

  6. kirkmyers says:

    Excellent article. Too bad the bought-and-paid-for corporate-owned media scribblers won’t pick it up. Which is no surprise: They have become glorified stenographers for entrenched politicians, greedy bankers and globalist power brokers.

  7. Andrew says:

    Good article, which all those of the Church of Warming will ignore. I think it could have benefited from stating that Sandy was barely and briefly a Category 1 hurricane at landfall in New Jersey (?). It should state what that means in wind speed, and that in New York/Manhattan Sandy was less than hurricane strength but it was geographically larger than usual because of the (already listed) contributory factors.

  8. mike about town says:

    great essay Paul!

  9. Camburn says:

    Mr. Paul Driessen:

    It is obvious that you have not yet been infected with Skeptical Science Syndrome.

    Please continue the inoculation process.

  10. Very nice article well reasoned and referenced.

    I have read tens of thousands of contemporary observations of the weather from 1000ad onwards. They are available in many places including those I do my research in such as the met office library and the Scott polar institute and great cathedrals whose records can be seen on animal hide.

    There is no doubt at all that we currently live on benign times. The great storms of the past dwarf those of the present and seem to belong to eras of cooling not warming. Some day those great weather events will return and with our vastly greater population and much more vulnerable infrstructure the devastation will be truly immense.

    We will of course blame it on agw instead of realising that our climate is hugly variable and that we have been very fortunate to live in the calm age we currently inhabit
    Tonyb

  11. martinbrumby says:

    Just a query from a Civil Engineer in the UK.

    How come no tidal barrier has been proposed?
    And why, at least, aren’t critical subway / tunnel entrances provided with storm surge barriers?

    Cost? Peanuts compared with the losses that Sandy caused. And obviously better value than pouring taxpayers’ money into Ruinable Energy projects (that don’t work).

    Unbelievable. I can’t believe that Civil Engineers haven’t pointed this out years ago. No doubt the politicos didn’t see it as a vote winner?

  12. Jack says:

    Too true sadly.
    Brisbane suffered a flood which exposed shonky planning. People were advised their houses were above flood level. The flood proved otherwise. Someone somewhere took money for shifting a line on a map. At least in Queensland the building code is to build for cyclone rating and it is enforced. Now having seen the error they are requiring new houses to be built 2 stories high with the floor being above flood level.
    It was government greed, charging for water so they let the storage levels get too high and then were forced to release water in a huge surge because the wall was in danger of breaching.
    The government accepted the green CAGW story fully. The Premier appointed her husband as the Department Head for Climate Change. So believing that permanent drought was the order of the day they refused to comply with the designed storage intent of flood mitigation. They increased the price of water, did not build further flood mitigation dams, foisted the cost of water infrastructure onto rate payers, built a desalination plant that has never been used.
    As you can see in one example, Climate Change policies have cost Queensland especially the South East corner, billions of dollars for no reward, other than advancing green socialist expenses onto other people, while they are sucking on the taxpayers teat.
    Apply that disaster world wide and the cost of warped green vision would be trillions, and never once out of a green pocket. Crocodile tears and saving the planet are a match.

  13. All to true. Well said and sadly destined to be ignored by most if not all in any position of influence. These people are all True Believers and willfully ignore anything that does not fit the orthodoxy they have chosen to believe.

  14. John West says:

    Found this interesting, worth reading the article:
    “The Seven Rules of Bureaucracy”
    by Loyd S. Pettegrew and Carol A. Vance
    http://mises.org/daily/5955/The-Seven-Rules-of-Bureaucracy
    Rules of Bureaucracy
    Rule #1: Maintain the problem at all costs! The problem is the basis of power, perks, privileges, and security.
    Rule #2: Use crisis and perceived crisis to increase your power and control.
    Rule 2a. Force 11th-hour decisions, threaten the loss of options and opportunities, and limit the opposition’s opportunity to review and critique.
    Rule #3: If there are not enough crises, manufacture them, even from nature, where none exist.
    Rule #4: Control the flow and release of information while feigning openness.
    Rule 4a: Deny, delay, obfuscate, spin, and lie.
    Rule #5: Maximize public-relations exposure by creating a cover story that appeals to the universal need to help people.
    Rule #6: Create vested support groups by distributing concentrated benefits and/or entitlements to these special interests, while distributing the costs broadly to one’s political opponents.
    Rule #7: Demonize the truth tellers who have the temerity to say, “The emperor has no clothes.”

  15. James Ard says:

    Excellent post, Mr. Driessen. So clearly stated that only a person with a self interest in the scam could disagree. Thanks, Anthony. It’s strong pieces like this that will turn the tables on them. Also, blaming politicians is a tact that might resonate with many Americans who may not be paying close attention to the issue.

  16. Charles H says:

    Most of the effects of this storm were eloquently predicted by weather organisations such as Weatherbell at least a week prior to the event. The fact that nobody heeds those who have superior knowledge is no surprise. What is a surprise is that the media seem to propagate the CAGW nonsense as a reason for these overdue natural events. Have the alarmists also full control of the media or is it just that the media want a good story? CO2 is a good cover story to force the public to pay additional taxation to fund the lifestyle of those that decide to live in prime locations. Unfortunately most people, educated or not, will continue to believe the alarmist hype until the propaganda machine is silenced.

  17. MattN says:

    “Manhattan got pounded in 1667 and by the Great Storm of 1693.”

    Huh??

  18. MrX says:

    The most dangerous aspect of this CAGW propaganda is that the blame goes on unprecedented global warming which implies that the storm was too unpredictable to prepare against which is completely bogus. They knew weeks in advance that the storm was going to hit and they did nothing. That it was a tropical storm is another indication that things could have been much, much worse. But they avoid any and all responsibility. That is far too dangerous a position to take. The worst part is that this attitude of denying facts will continue to kill and harm people.

  19. Doug M says:

    As much as the Providence hurricane barrier protects the city of Providence, it puts the surrounding communities of East Providence, Cranston and Warwick at greater risk. Also, Providence is at the head of Narragansett Bay where the funneling storm surge would be blocked at a neck only few hundred feet wide. The landscape is just the opposite for Manhattan. Can’t imagine how such a barrier would be built there.

  20. Gamecock says:

    Tom in Texas says:
    December 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Friday approved a $60.4 billion aid package to pay for reconstruction costs from Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged mid-Atlantic and northeastern states, after defeating Republican efforts to trim the bill’s cost.

    =================================================================

    As Tom says, it is not the federal government’s job to pay for storm damage. Another slush fund for Obama to spend as he wishes.

    BTW . . . This will completely eat the projected revenue from “raising taxes on the rich.”

  21. John West says:

    @ Paul Driessen
    Great job, well done.

    While I get your meaning with:

    “It’s elementary physics – which governors, mayors, planners and developers ignore at their peril.”

    It’s rarely themselves that are put in peril.

  22. John West,

    Thank you for the “Seven Rules.” They describe with precision the way any modern state operates.
    I always wondered, why otherwise seemingly intelligent and educated people would continue to insist that “democracy” or “Republic” still exist.

  23. eyesonu says:

    Paul Driessen, thank you for the excellent post. In the following comments I expect to see many other related and contributing factors supporting you post.

  24. AJ says:

    Here is my attempt to put together a Power Dissipation Index for storms making landfall north of Chesapeake Bay (including Atlantic Canada) for the period 1851-2011. It’s a noisy signal, so unsurprisingly, I wasn’t able to find a significant trend:

    https://sites.google.com/site/climateadj/home/noreast-pdi

  25. Manfred says:

    Things will only change if politicians will be held accountable with their own money.

  26. DirkH says:

    MattN says:
    December 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm
    ““Manhattan got pounded in 1667 and by the Great Storm of 1693.”
    Huh??”

    What, “huh”? Read it before it’s edited away: (The wikipedia link is in the text above as well)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_York_hurricanes

  27. Michael of Brisbane says:

    I just posted this at Skeptical Science. Lets see if they leave it posted hey?
    It’s under the Topic: Perspectives of 8 Scientists Attending AGU Fall Meeting.

    “I think that what will “wake the sleeping masses” is for at least some of the predictions from modelling (and alarm) to actually happen, and for weather to actually become “extreme”.
    Hurricane Sandy was not unusual in any way when compared historically, nor is any weather event that is blamed on AGW nowadays.

    Thanks Boswarm, for the link to that article in The Age too.
    (did you really use the word “allowing”??)
    That article sums up my stance on AGW pretty well. (especially what it says about the use of the word “denier”.)
    I am indeed one of the “sleeping masses” and I am very much awake already, thank you.”

    Anthony, thank you so much for all your work!

  28. Doug Huffman says:

    The infrequent Black Swan event is less likely to be understood and/or forecast or its effects anticipated. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Black Swan and Antifragile.

  29. JimJ says:

    Charles H says:December 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm
    Have the alarmists also full control of the media or is it just that the media want a good story?
    Yes, the vast majority of the media are true believers and relish reporting these events as proof of CAGW. The few that question the dogma won’t speak out for fear of getting their heads handed to them.
    Jim

  30. Patrick B says:

    So they say with global warming these events will become more common? Then the only logical response is to not rebuild in these areas. I would like to see a Federal bill forbidding use of federal funds to rebuild in any areas that flooded.

  31. eric1skeptic says:

    Doug M, surge barriers would cost about $6B for the Verrazano Narrows and a billion or two for the other two ocean entrances. But your point is valid that a surge barrier around Manhattan would cause greater floods elsewhere. Specifically NJ would have to choose between ocean view and dike view along much of their coastline and other areas would not be savable.

  32. Steven Mosher says:

    brilliant.

    we are not prepared for the storms of the past
    much less the storms of the future
    if agw is true then the next 30 years of extreme weather cannot be mitigated. adapting is necessary whether agw is true or not. if its

  33. A. Scott says:

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Friday approved a $60.4 billion aid package to pay for reconstruction costs from Superstorm Sandy”

    A supposed emergency aid package that is loaded with pork – spending either unrelated to Sandy, or not for immediate needs. Only between $9 and $12 billion will be spent in 2013 – the majority for spending that should go thru normal appropriations channels. It has been piled into this bill so they can bypass those basic controls.

    Much of the spending is to rebuild in the same highly likely to be destroyed again areas.

    And why are we making essentially grants – why are we providing handouts and not low interest loans for much of this work? Those people and communities have chosen to build in an area known to be disaster prone. They chose not to obtain adequate insurance. And now they want all Americans to pay.

    I am all for as much emergency relief as is necessary to address emergency issues. Spending that won’t occur for a year or much more is not an “emergency.” All such non-emergency spending should be prohibited from being attached to any emergency relief bill.

  34. james griffin says:

    It is the duty of Governments and Local Authorities to prepare and deal with the climate hazard’s relating to the land areas under their jurisdiction. In California they have to prepare for earthquakes, in the mid-west it is Tornado’s. As a Brit looking from afar New Orleans city fathers had allowed the sea defences to fall into disrepair…something our Dutch neighbours accross the North Sea cannot afford to do. In New York the climate hazards appear to be bad storms, heavy snow falls and freezing temperatures most winters. It is therefore Mayor Bloomberg’s job to have plans in place…not blame it on fictional AGW.

  35. Other_Andy says:

    Powerful stuff Anthropogenic CO2.
    Humans change 0.00004563% of the atmosphere, adding 0.117% to the total CO2 levels, resulting in hurricanes, disappearing polar ice, droughts, violent storms, floods, crumbling glaciers, rising seas and other unspeakable horrors.

  36. Camburn says:

    Michael of Brisbane says:
    December 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Better be careful. With contrarian views, you won’t be able to post at SS very long. Even if you can back up your posts with published literature, it seems that the controllers at SS are not intersted in real science.

  37. john robertson says:

    So its time to relocate the centre of power to the ravaged beaches and institute a man your desk for the duration rule?
    Or bury the guilty neck deep before the incoming tidal surge?
    We are in this mess of lies, because we never found useful employment, beyond politics, for the witchdoctors. Rational thinking and reasoning our way through problems, what little we do of it, left the natural born shaman types without an outlet. Look what we made them do.
    Now its,”If you don’t elect me a storm will strike”.
    Other than that sarcasm, the convenience of blaming the weather on acts of other men, allows our politicos time to steal all they can and leave someone else to clean up the mess and or take the blame.
    Of course once they get too evasive even the real dummies will wonder, what do we need you for?

  38. polistra says:

    It’s always about status. High-status people always get what they want, and low-status people always have to pay for it. Takers and makers, though not in the way the high-status people use those words.

    High-status people enjoy living on beaches for some reason that I can’t begin to comprehend. What’s so special about sand? If you want sand in your yard, you can live on high ground and put sand in your yard.

    But then I’m a low-status person and can’t hope to understand the superior ways of superior people. So I’m going to pay for the high-status people to rebuild their billion-dollar McMansions over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. I’m not allowed to say that flood plains are places where floods happen.

  39. Douglas C says:

    Overhead power lines – for a developed country, it’s pathetic.

  40. mpainter says:

    martinbrumby says: December 29 2012 at 11:59 am
    Just a query from a Civil Engineer in the UK.

    How come no tidal barrier has been proposed?
    And why, at least, aren’t critical subway / tunnel entrances provided with storm surge barriers?

    Cost? Peanuts compared with the losses that Sandy caused. And obviously better value than pouring taxpayers’ money into Ruinable Energy projects (that don’t work).

    Unbelievable. I can’t believe that Civil Engineers haven’t pointed this out years ago. No doubt the politicos didn’t see it as a vote winner?
    ===========================================

    It has to do with the execrable quality of elected officials in this country, every one a sow’s ear. New Orleans was even worse- a ticking time-bomb waiting for a big storm to set it off. The levee could have been storm-proofed at modest expense. Now NYC. The political leaders will say AGW to deflect the blame, of course.

    ,

  41. Goode 'nuff says:

    Kirkmeyers said, ” They have become glorified stenographers for entrenched politicians, greedy bankers and globalist power brokers. ”

    Those above are the ones who deserve their farce tax increases. Not the stressed out 200k+ people (many small business) who work 60-80 hours a week. Miss quality time with their spouses, kids and relatives. Use the least amount of public services. Face a high divorce rate and often stress related health problems.

    It is UNFAIR for them to be tapped hard by this government that has become a wastefully spending hungry volcano demanding endless sacrifices.

  42. Theodore White says:

    A good piece by Paul Driessen, and good choice by Anthony Watts.

    The thing about Superstorm Sandy is that it was forecasted. I did this in August and called it a full moon storm. Moreover, the astronomic signatures of this hybrid storm are those that we will see more often in a climate regime of global cooling.

    And, as Charles H. says, “Most of the effects of this storm were eloquently predicted by weather organisations such as Weatherbell at least a week prior to the event. The fact that nobody heeds those who have superior knowledge is no surprise.”

    This is the entire point. I gave three months warning of the storm and other organizations gave at least a week. The powers that be in New York & New Jersey did not listen to the long-range, nor the short-range warnings. They sat on their hands.

    The mid-Atlantic and Northeast (again) are never prepared. The states and cities of New York and New Jersey are coastal so I agree with Driessen when he writes that, “Incompetence, stupidity, diversion, blame shifting, and false solutions to imaginary problems,” are responsible for the mess.

    In fact, Drieesen is being too kind, “No wonder, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and other politicos prefer to talk about global warming, rising seas and worsening weather – to deflect attention and blame from decisions that have put more people in the path of greater danger. Indeed, the very notion of packing more and more people into “sustainable, energy-efficient” coastal cities in the NY-NJ area is itself madness on steroids.”

    I say it is worse than that.

    What happened, and the excuse of the lie of ‘man-made global warming’ is far worse than madness on steroids. What we have here are complete, full-blown idiots posing as leaders. It’s Gilligan serving as captain of the USS Enterprise and Gomer Pyle running Starfleet Command.

    Meanwhile, it was reported that the U.S. Senate approved a $60.4 billion package to pay for reconstruction costs from Sandy with Republican efforts to trim the bill’s cost.

    Now, on both the causes of climate change and Superstorm Sandy, the Republicans are right. And the aid package was amazingly hiked up beyond reality (most likely to use as graft for bogus claims and to grease friendly politico hands.)

    This storm’s aid package should really be somewhere in the neighborhood of less than three billion dollars. The Jersey shore was hit hard, but it could have been much, much worse.

    And Mayor Bloomberg should pay for the rest of the damage to New York himself since he and his staff ignored the long-range AND the short-range forecasts of the superstorm.

    Superstorm Sandy was a warning of what’s to come from solar-forced climate change. This change is that of Global Cooling – far, far worse than global warming could ever be.

    Global warming, I remind everyone, is GOOD for the world, but global cooling is NOT.

    It has been my long-range climate forecast for all of us to expect increasing hybrid storms like Superstorm Sandy that pack enormous pressure, featuring heavy precipitation and blasting winds along with extremes of temperature (cold forced storms) to become more commonplace in the decades ahead – especially in the 2020s and 2030s.

    The infrastructure, energy, power and supply needs to effectively handle and survive a climate regime of global cooling is what true leaders should have been working and preparing for.

    But, that won’t happen until the generational establishment now in charge are removed from their positions along with the lie of ‘man-made global warming’ being finally flushed down the toilet never to resurface ever again.

    Also, kudos to Drieesen for noting the piss-poor land-use planning of New York City:

    “The East River has likewise been hemmed in, while other water channels have been completely filled. Buildings, malls and raised roadways constructed on former potato fields, forests, grasslands and marshlands have further constricted passageways for storm surges and runoff.”

    This is spot on. What land use planners, especially in New York, always forget is the weather.

    How that is so simply boggles the mind. Just how, in heaven’s name, can you plan without taking into account the most important factor of all?

    Moreover, all that CONCRETE is NO GOOD when cities receive heavy precipitation from storm surges. It seems that the planners in New York forget that Manhattan is an island.

    It is coastal. When there are storms like Sandy there is nowhere for fast surging water to go but into subway stations, into basements of homes and office buildings. These hybrid storms destroy rooftops, force buildings to fall apart and crumble. These storms saturate everything in its path with flood-ravaged tunnels, avenues, streets and roadways.

    The years are coming when Mother Nature (that’s the law of physics that govern climate and weather) will speak with a more frequent voice in the name of Superstorm Sandy.

    And, according to my long-range outlook, get used to hearing, seeing and experiencing these hybrid storms. These are very dangerous storms that signal what living under a global cooling climate regime will be like. It’s not a pretty picture.

    The day is coming when those who put down global warming will pray for its return and all they will hear and feel are the blasting winds, the colder temperatures and heavy precipitation of global cooling and they will burn as many carbon sources as they possibly can to stay warm and survive.

    Those who should pay the bills for all the damages are the same people who propagandized the outright lie of ‘man-made global warming’ and who haven’t learned the facts of life every Boy Scout is taught straight out of the gate:

    “Be Prepared.”

    – Theodore White, astrometeorologist. sci

  43. D Böehm says:

    mpainter says:

    “It has to do with the execrable quality of elected officials in this country…”

    True enough, most are not worth spit because they are beholden to special interests. The money that should have gone into storm mitigation was wasted instead on outrageous pay, pensions, and benefits for relatively unskilled workers like police and firefighters, who get most of their skills via on the job training. Any average person in reasonable health could do those jobs, and it requires even less skill, ability and health to be a paper pushing government bureaucrat. These people have become monkeys on the backs of hard-bitten taxpayers.

    It is still going on. More than $60 billion is slated to be sent to the areas impacted by TS Sandy. But reading the bill’s language, a large part of that money will be payola for special interests, and will have nothing to do with storm damage. And as another commenter pointed out, that single expenditure will completely wipe out the expected revenue from Obama’s ‘tax the rich’ scheme. So the money isn’t even collected yet, and it’s already been spent. And it is certain that Obama’s people will have their hand out for more at every opportunity. They have learned to game the system. That means they have learned to steal from the productive workers.

    Sooner or later there will be a financial storm that will make TS Sandy seem like a walk in the park.

  44. Michael of Brisbane says:

    I’ve caused a bit of a kerfuffle Camburn! Tom Curtis has replied with a long post.
    Boy oh boy! Sensitive much?
    (giggle)
    I used to read SkS every day.
    I don’t read it much any more though. In fact I’ve just posted again saying that I’ve lost confidence in them as being balanced and scientific, so I suppose they will ban me now.

  45. Peter Miller says:

    As we all know, ‘global warming’ can be blamed for almost anything bad which happens.

    For incompetent politicians and bureaucrats. who failed to do what they should have done; and faced with the aftermath of a normal extreme weather event, global warming has been a godsend in providing fantasy excuses..

  46. Goldie says:

    I cannot believe how I’ll- prepared the developed world is for known natural phenomena. I completely agree with your comments, it’s a disgrace. Living in a country that has received it’s fair proportion of natural disasters in the last decade, it is obvious that our politicians have no clue as to proper risk management and mitigation, preferring the posturing of people who have no qualification in the areas that speak about.

  47. Phil Ford says:

    “…kirkmyers says: Excellent article. Too bad the bought-and-paid-for corporate-owned media scribblers won’t pick it up. Which is no surprise: They have become glorified stenographers for entrenched politicians, greedy bankers and globalist power brokers…”

    Yes, this comment hits the nail on the head. CAGW zealots will look everywhere but right in front of them for anything to explain and justify their idiocy. It is a tragedy that articles such as Paul Driessen’s won’t find their way into mainstream broadcast/print. Such honest plain-speaking is not welcome aboard such a ship of fools; it goes against the manifesto, chafes the doctrine and frightens the horses.

    Having experienced myself over the Christmas break just what it is like to be on the receiving end of the barely concealed hatred CAGW zealots deploy without hesitation against anyone (even family) who might publicly express severe doubts about the man-made global warming scare (in this case, my attacker was my own brother-in-law – a university professor, no less), I sometimes despair of common sense ever being regained in the face of such madness from climate alarmists.

  48. Doug M says:
    December 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    As much as the Providence hurricane barrier protects the city of Providence, it puts the surrounding communities of East Providence, Cranston and Warwick at greater risk. Also, Providence is at the head of Narragansett Bay where the funneling storm surge would be blocked at a neck only few hundred feet wide. The landscape is just the opposite for Manhattan. Can’t imagine how such a barrier would be built there.

    Here’s a recent WOWT comment that describes the practicalities of a barrier. (Too bad there’s no Robert Moses around to make this happen.)

    Neil Jordan says:
    November 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    This morning’s American Society of Civil Engineers SmartBrief carried top story items:
    ASCE warned years ago NYC faced huge storm-surge threat

    ASCE warned of a major storm-surge threat to New York City during a 2009 seminar where it proposed measures designed to reduce risks. “Scientists and engineers were saying years before Katrina happened, ‘Hey, it’s going to happen, folks. Stop putting your head in the sand,’” said Malcolm Bowman of the State University of New York. The “most workable plan” would be the construction of a nearly five-mile barrier from Sandy Hook, N.J., to the Rockaway Peninsula, and another barrier across the East River, according to Bowman. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/4)

    Link to full NY Times article is:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/nyregion/in-2009-engineers-detailed-storm-surge-threat-to-new-york-city.html?_r=0

    The second article covers protecting the city before the next storm:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/nyregion/protecting-new-york-city-before-next-time.html

    “While such a system is expensive to build — estimates range to $17 billion — Sandy’s damage and economic losses to the region may reach $50 billion, . . .
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    “The most intriguing option, according to Bowman who has looked at all of these plans, is a project called the New York- New Jersey Outer Harbor Gateway, a five-mile long system of causeways and gates extending from Sandy Hook in New Jersey to the Rockaways in Queens. While that system, conceptualized by the London-based engineering firm Halcrow Group, wouldn’t completely stop a surge, it would deflect the energy of the surge and diminish water to manageable levels, according to a Halcrow report.

    ““The thing about the Outer Crossing is that it could have a multipurpose function,” said Bowman. “It could act as a four-lane highway plus a rail connection between northern New Jersey and Long Island. It could be a very interesting New York City bypass as well as a rapid rail connection with Kennedy airport.”

    ““You could even make it toll road to pay for it,” he said.”

  49. jim says:

    Reblogged this on pdx transport and commented:
    Key quote: “placing generators in the basements of hospitals and skyscrapers built in areas that are barely above sea level”

  50. Speed says:

    While every Midwest mud puddle is declared a protected wetland, the New York Metroplex is asphalted, cemented, tiled, urbanized, industrialized and rendered unnatural and hazardous to humans and other living things.

  51. Michael of Brisbane says:

    Whoops! It seems I’ve been deleted!
    I posted the following in reply to what Rob and Tom had written. It was there as Post #12, and suddenly… it was gone!

    “Whoa! Simmer boys!
    I didn’t mean to upset anyone.

    Rob, I do not live in NY. I live in Brisbane Australia.
    Our floods, cyclones, bushfires and droughts are now all blamed on AGW by some prominent commentators here, and none of those weather events are unusual when compared to historical records.
    I believe the “sleeping masses” are growing more aware of this and are revolting. (!)

    Tom, I’m sorry, but I think you’re drawing some pretty long bows in your last post. (especially item 4! Are you really saying that the term “denier” when used in mainstream media by the afore mentioned prominent commentators is not meant to be derogatory?)

    Uncle Pete, I don’t think Boswarm meant any irony at all. (feel free to chime in Boswarm)
    With respect, I’d still like to know what you meant in #5. (please?)

    Rob, I do indeed read other sites. (of course I do)
    The way people talk to each other from BOTH sides is a very sad indictment on our society.”

    I think they are afraid of someone making sense.

  52. @ mpainter / December 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    in April 2009 the Dutch company Arcadis has proposed a plan for a storm surge barrier in the Verrazano Narrows ;
    accordig to Arcadis the barrier should be combined with other barriers in the East River and the Arthur Kill;
    costs for the Verazano Barrier alone were a estimated 6,500.000.000 USD;
    the citygovernment of New York was in 2009 not really interested in the plan;
    the idea was a combination of two existing Dutch Barriers, the Maeslantkering near Rotterdam and the Oosterscheldekering in Zeeland;

    regards

  53. nzrobin says:

    Thank you Paul, Anthony, and the commentators here. Thank you so much for putting infrastructure development and risk management into proper perspective; you have hit the nail on the head. I am an electric power engineer doing distribution network planning for a power distribution utility and I appreciate the input you all have to offer. What you have written here could be the basis of a textbook for planners.
    Thank you especially to Anthony Watts. The impact of the learning available from this blog is beyond words. The continual flow of sensible and challenging thinking from smart people is simply amazing. Long may the work continue.
    Wishing you all success for the year ahead.
    Robin (New Zealand)

  54. @ mpainter

    there is even a movie of the plan:

  55. eo says:

    It is not just in New York. It is a global phenomena. I was in a developing country when the minister of health was interviewed on the dengue epidemic and instead of calling for action he merely shrugged the problem as beyond his control as it is caused by global warming.

  56. Gail Combs says:

    Charles H says:
    December 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    ….. What is a surprise is that the media seem to propagate the CAGW nonsense as a reason for these overdue natural events. Have the alarmists also full control of the media or is it just that the media want a good story? ….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The banks/financiers control the media. See discussion at Tallbloke: New York Times has vested interest in climate alarmism

    The CO2 scam is a huge money maker for the financiers.

    World Bank Carbon Finance Report for 2007
    The carbon economy is the fastest growing industry globally with US$84 billion of carbon trading conducted in 2007, doubling to $116 billion in 2008, and expected to reach over $200 billion by 2012 and over $2,000 billion by 2020

    $2,000 billion that does NOTHING, it produces no wealth or any other benefit except create another method for transferring wealth from the sheeple to the elite.

    ““A disordered currency is one of the greatest of evils. It wars against industry, frugality, and economy. And it fosters the evil spirits of extravagance and speculation. Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind, none has been more effectual than that which deludes them with paper money. This is one of the most effectual of inventions to fertilize the rich man’s field by the sweat of the poor man’s brow. Ordinary tyranny, oppression, excessive taxation: These bear lightly the happiness of the mass of the community, compared with fraudulent currencies and robberies committed with depreciated paper.” ~ Sen. Daniel Webster 1832

    Looks like they have invented something even better that paper currency although I have seen calls for making ‘Carbon Credits’ the new international reserve currency.

    ETHICAL MARKETS: A Proposal for a Carbon-Based International Reserve Currency As a Major Component Of The UN Funding System For Development And Climate Mitigation And Adaptation International Institute of Monetary Transformation
    Frans C. Verhagen, M.Div., M.I.A., Ph.D

  57. Gail Combs says:

    I wish we would see writing like this in our professional news media. Unfortunately the MSM is nothing more than a propaganda outlet. You know it is really getting bad when the National Enquirer is doing block buster investigative reporting on our politicians link (snicker)

  58. Wally says:

    Lessons do get learned. When Hurricane Isabel hit the Norfolk area of VA one of the casualties was the flooding of the mid-town tunnel. The tunnel was designed with hurricane gates, but as they started to raise them, as the storm approached, they stuck. If my meorory is not too bad, it took about 6 months to dry the tunnel out and re-wire it. Now, days before any potential sotrm, they stop the traffic and give the gates a try on all the tunnels. So far so good, but none of the more recent storms has had a flood surge as high as Isable.

    Flood gates on the rivers around Manhatten might provide some protection but a lot of the damage was to areas with direct exposure to the Atlantic. In those locations, storm walls and no first floors helps a lot. Locations like Hatteras Island routinly get battered by hurricanes much stronger than Sandy, with limited home damage.

  59. Gail Combs says:

    Theodore White says:
    December 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    A good piece by Paul Driessen, and good choice by Anthony Watts….

    In fact, Drieesen is being too kind, “No wonder, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and other politicos prefer to talk about global warming, rising seas and worsening weather – to deflect attention and blame from decisions that have put more people in the path of greater danger. ….

    What happened, and the excuse of the lie of ‘man-made global warming’ is far worse than madness on steroids. What we have here are complete, full-blown idiots posing as leaders. It’s Gilligan serving as captain of the USS Enterprise and Gomer Pyle running Starfleet Command.…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Now I have to clean my computer again. What a wonderful description of modern day politicians.

    At least in ‘olden days’ the King had to get his butt out there and lead his army. Too bad we can not send modern politicians out to lead the army. It would quickly cut down on wars. Just visualize Obama in Afghanistan link

  60. DesertYote says:

    Tom in Texas
    December 29, 2012 at 11:38 am
    ###

    Silly boy! The money isn’t just to rebuild schools. 150 Million is going to Alaska, and 58 Million to plant trees on property owned by Democratic Party donators. Plus some is going to go into buying new fleets of GM cars for federal agencies, throughout the country. All worthy causes, I’m sure you’ll agree!

  61. Gunga Din says:

    eo says:
    December 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm
    It is not just in New York. It is a global phenomena. I was in a developing country when the minister of health was interviewed on the dengue epidemic and instead of calling for action he merely shrugged the problem as beyond his control as it is caused by global warming.
    ====================================================================
    Don’t take care of the problem, nurture “the cause”.

  62. markx says:

    Michael of Brisbane says: December 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    “..I’ve caused a bit of a kerfuffle Camburn! Tom Curtis has replied with a long post….”

    Tom Curtis at 08:31 AM on 30 December, 2012 said: “Michael of Brisbane @4,
    1) Weather is actually becoming extreme, as illustrated by the 2010 Moscow heatwave (a on in a thousand year event, according to the Russian weather service);…”

    Geez Michael … I’d be all over that first line of Tom Curtis’ … a one in a thousand year event? So would you like to call that unprecedented? You mean it has happened before but this time its different, right? (and I bet next you are going to tell me that models tell you it is going to happen more often now?)…. etc

    I would say that, but I got banned again recently … and anyway those sort of lines and questions get instantly deleted …. and I’m tired of making new email addresses.

  63. Athelstan. says:

    We have had a similar lamentable invocation of nebulous theories advanced to defend the indefensible. If not quite a mirror of that terrible night in NYC, very similar sounding excuses have been made for the recent rainfall totals experienced here in the UK – climate change and “we must make contingencies”, unheard of rainfall totals etc, etc.
    True there has been some flooding and how hope destroying it is for those people who have been inundated more than once in the past few months – to the victims my heart goes out to you all.
    But scrapping regulations and strict rules to prevent building homes on vulnerable flood plain and on low lying areas is simply idiotic. On the other hand, we used to dredge rivers to lower the bed, no longer because the EU forbids it – riparian flora and fauna are of greater concern and a higher priority to the eco-warriors, Brussels fruit-loops and bean counters. Our very own Environment Agency [Brussels reps in the UK] is the chief culprit, where absolute adherence to the church of global warming is a prime requisite for employee and senior management alike.

    If it is [any manifestation of] severe weather, then if follows according to HMG – that it must be down to CAGW.

    It’s the perfect ‘get out of Jail card’.

  64. markx says:

    @Michael of Brisbane: December 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Re: SKS editing, deleting, propaganda generating, name calling, drum beating, arguing about types of argument, labeling…..etc ..etc..

    Tom Curtis at 09:39 AM on 30 December, 2012
    Rob @10,

    Your will note that Tom is agreeing with Rob at comment 10. Except Rob’s comment is now at number 6. There is no doubt that is the comment he refers to as they both discuss the type of characters CAGW skeptics are… and anyway , that comment of Tom’s itself is now #9.

    So, in the usual style, at least 4 comments from that page (of currently10 comments) have vanished without trace or comment.

  65. King of Cool says:

    Rule 2 of “The Seven Rules of Bureaucracy”?
    Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Green Party on ABC radio earlier this month:

    “We are track for 4-6 deg of warming”

    “Our country is being swamped by extreme weather events”

    ABC listeners might be scared stiff but I wonder if Nature is listening? It will be fascinating to see what the Australian area averaged mean temperature is for 2012 (in 2011 it was 0.14 °C below the 1961 to 1990 average of 21.81 °C). Another blue line on the graph may be extremely bad news for Ms Milne:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi

    Of course the BOM reminded us that we had a strong La Liña in 2011 and no doubt they will find some record or other in 2012 to keep Christine Milne happy and ABC listeners alarmed even if the temperature isn’t in the red. And we still have a few months of the cyclone season left to boost up the extreme event trend:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/climatology/trends.shtml

    But dare I say that on Christmas day we had wonderful gentle rain and one place on the globe Sydney is presently looking glorious with a max of 23 deg and we are being swamped with extremely wonderful days, one after the other?

    But I guess that would be tempting providence for Christine’s crystal ball and we will soon have an extreme weather event happening somewhere, even if it is a willy willy hitting the main street of Gilgandra.

  66. markx says:

    Gail Combs says: December 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    “…….. World Bank Carbon Finance Report for 2007
    The carbon economy is the fastest growing industry globally with US$84 billion of carbon trading conducted in 2007, doubling to $116 billion in 2008, and expected to reach over $200 billion by 2012 and over $2,000 billion by 2020.

    $2,000 billion that does NOTHING, it produces no wealth or any other benefit except create another method for transferring wealth from the sheeple to the elite. …”

    Dead right Gail.

    And that is one of the main reasons why this whole shebang needs no conspiracy to keep on rolling …. government and finance institutions just instinctively and instantly embrace this sort of stuff.

    And then just keep making money out of money popping from one trading account to the next.

  67. Mark Fraser says:

    Leaders leading – yeah – a now-dated cartoon on a Canadian paper portraying an out-of-the-closet opposition defense critic going to Iraq to negotiate for peace: the caption was “yoo hoo, Saddam…..!”

  68. ntesdorf says:

    An excellent Guest post by Paul Driessen. In times past people and authorities responded to climate disasters by taking logical remedial action like building dykes, raising land levels, building dams, dredging rivers, etc. Since CAGW the official line is to blame every event on Climate whatever, do nothing and seek to raise taxes to alter peoples’ actions and hence the climate. The result is that people have less money to remedy their problems, pay more for energy and have less for food. Their survival depends on energy use which remains use remains obstinately the same. Authorities do not notice the effects that their taxes are having and believe that the taxes are an effective alternative to the old fashioned remedies that really did work. Since the reduction of CO2 has (virtually) no effect on world climate, the disasters continue with people having less ability to combat them. Authorities smugly believe that the disasters would have been even worse without their taxes, and carry on, as they cannot reason out the true and complex situation driving the climate. At some point people will either perish or replace the authorities with people taking effective actions for the peoples’ benefit. I hope that we can last out that long.

  69. liz953 says:

    Anyone paying attention would have seen a huge storm gathering, and had days to prepare. I live in a low lying area of the Chesapeake Bay, and had Sandy turned west just several hours earlier, I would have been a Sandy “victim.” Still, I didn’t wait for the “authorities” to tell me what to do. I evacuated to higher ground, took my dog and my important documents and got out of danger.

    People have to realize that living in coastal areas they will be subjected to perils…hundred-year perils..even if in their lifetimes and their parent’s lifetimes they haven’t seen it. But history is there, and can’t be ignored. Many tragedies have been documented, with terrible loss of life. We can blame Bloomberg, or the Weather people who may or may not have sounded greater alarms, or ordered evacuations. But the final responsibilty remains in the guts of those in harm’s way. And if you remain in your house, in the face of a 700 mile-wide, unusual fall storm, it is your respnsibility to decide what is most important to you. To hope for the best, thinking that it “has never happened here,” is to roll the dice. For me, I will give up my home and possessions for my life, figuring if nothing happens, or if I lose it all, at least I had an hand in my fate. I tempt no acts of Mother Nature.

  70. Gail Combs says:

    ntesdorf says:
    December 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    …..Authorities smugly believe that the disasters would have been even worse without their taxes, and carry on, as they cannot reason out the true and complex situation driving the climate. At some point people will either perish or replace the authorities with people taking effective actions for the peoples’ benefit. I hope that we can last out that long.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    At this point I am just hoping I am dead of natural causes before the sheeple (especially those in the inner city) figure out just how badly they have been had by the politicians, academics and bankers.

    When the rolling blackouts and ‘energy poverty’ hit the inner cities and they finally figure out it was done on purpose by the US government, I really really do not want to be around. link Heck some people were calling for riots on twitter if Obama did not win re-election, so what do you think they will do when they realize just how much they were betrayed?

    Remember the real bill of goods being sold to the rank and file liberals is that we can have a viable economy and still be ‘green.’ That Wind and Solar can easily replace coal. That their current jobs will be replace by ‘green’ jobs.

    The reality is a current 23-24% unemployment with red tape and Obamacare discouraging the growth in the small businesses who account of most new jobs. The earnings for the median man with a high school diploma and no further schooling fell by 41 percent from 1970 to 2010 and the future capacity prices [for electricty] in the RTO increased by an incredible 350 percent at the Future Capacity Auction for 2014/2015.

    On top of that thanks to Bernanke doubling the USA money supply there is talk of Stagfation only unlike the 1970’s we do not have 24% of the work force employed in manufacturing. Instead we have a nation of bureaucrats, shop keepers and burger flippers with a huge trade deficit and federal debt. Obama may talk of taxing ‘The Rich’ but first they have to be enough people earning a wage high enough to BE tax!

  71. E.M.Smith says:

    It’s a fantasy world they live in…

    I once was house shopping in Rhode Island. ( I had a potential job offer.) The realtor was all happy to show me houses close to the shore… I asked “The Question”… “What about hurricanes?”…

    She demured and hemmed and hawed by did admit that yes, they had them, and yes, in 1950 something or other they had a bad one… but it had been decades since then…

    So we looked at homes more inland and a bit higher ground… at my insistence…

    “Those who forget history are doomed to make some involuntarily”…

    And anyone who buys a home with an “ocean view” must expect up close and personal views of large waves and major storms.

  72. pkatt says:

    If cities and states had to pay their own disaster relief I would bet that zoning and building codes would be more thought out. Instead we get disaster after disaster because people are unprepared to deal with the “disaster of the area”, this syndrome is not just confined to the coastlines.

  73. AJ says:

    @ markx says: December 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Yep. There’s ~200,000 slot machines in Vegas. Every day about 5 of them have a 100 year event.

  74. The harmonics of the lunar declinational tides in the atmosphere repeat about every 18.6 years, when the declinational angle at culmination is the same. Four cycles back in 1938;
    “the 1938 “Long Island Express” hit LI as a category 3 hurricane with wind gusts up to 180 mph.
    And others pummeled Canada’s Maritime Provinces in 1866, 1886, 1893, 1939, 1959, 1963 and 2003″.

    We had the same effects, using the data from those days projected forward to last year and this one (2011-2012) we had the return of the same dynamics in phase with the declinational tides this time, same as last time. The maps for precipitation expected for the days for both Irene and Sandy moved up the East coast and made landfall, posted to my site are the repeat of the precipitation data from past hurricanes of the same tidal effects occurring with the same timing. Forecasting the extreme weather of the past two years, up to 18 years in advance, and nobody paid attention, except me, but no one would listen to me.(NO PHD I guess)
    Richard Holle

  75. John F. Hultquist says:

    Tonyb @ 11:59 says “Very nice article well reasoned and referenced.
    I agree. My guess is that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would not agree if he were required to read this slowly, carefully, and multiple times. Hundreds of thousands of other “leaders” would similarly dismiss this as unbelievably naive. And that’s a problem.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    following Tonyb, Martinbrumby asks “And why, at least, aren’t critical subway / tunnel entrances provided with storm surge barriers?

    Manhattan is like a gargantuan Swiss cheese. Many entrances to the labyrinth are old and unused, even unknown. Shortly after Sandy a news article explained this issue but I did not save it.

  76. kwg1947 says:

    To: Paul Driessen- Here is your passage I am disagreeing with:

    “Mr. Bloomberg’s Arverne by the Sea initiative transformed what he called “a swath of vacant land” into a “vibrant and growing oceanfront community,” with “affordable” homes starting at $559,000. (The land was vacant because a 1950 storm wiped it clean of structures.) The new homes were built on 167 acres of land raised five feet above the surrounding Far Rockaway area. Those Arverne homes mostly survived Sandy. But the high ground caused storm surges to rise higher and move faster elsewhere than they would have on Rockaway lowlands that are always hit head-on by northward moving storms.”

    I was born in Rockaway Beach Hospital in 1947. What you wrote about the Arverne/Rockaway Beach area is not accurate. I owned until 2005 the very house my Grandparents owned from 1938 onward until I sold it in 2005. My GGrandmother’s family was the first scratch bakery in the Rockaways pre 1860. My GGrandfather was a policeman of the newly formed Village of Rockaway Beach in 1896. I spent every summer at 335 Beach 73rd Street, Arverne, NY 11692. Mayor Lindsay after his election in 1965 was the reason all those homes were levelled, not because of a 1950 storm, sorry. Those homes dated to pre-1933 and were mostly in bad shape by the mid 1960’s because of neglect and a run downed area because of poverty. There was no raising of the land where the beach was for the new project of Arverne by the Sea which would affect the landscape as you suggest. I still owned and was rennovating that property until 2005. I did so because the renewal promised by Lindsay finally arrived in about 2003-2004 when they began building that firs set of attached single family homes, the models of which were on Beach 73rd Street but south of Rockaway Beach Boulevard. There was another storm during my teen years which washed away the original boardwalk and a hotel which used to be at the ocean front and 73rd Street. It also took 13 feet of sand with it, I know because I walked there and saw it. If the homes on Breezy Point, which had the devastating fires, had the sam construction materials as my home did, then they had newspapers as insulation. If those homes had, as many homeowners did and still do, only cosmetic improvements, then they did not upgrade the buildings fire proofing and electrical, which likely still contained knob and tube wireing. Most of the homes in Arverne which were taken down by Lindsay were on both sides of the Rockaway Beach Boulevard, from its westerly point at Beach 80th Street eastward to about Beach 35th Street. basically all the land just South of the elevated subway trains which went from NYCity to Far Rockaway.

    Sandy was brutal, and I agree with everything else you say about the politics. The people who owned these properties were at fault, the city was at fault for not improving the infrastructure of the beach well before this tragedy, and possibly requiring ongoing upgrades to those properties at risk on this barrier reef home to thousands. The people because they should have known the potential dangers and risks before building there. The same for the City of New York. Nothing more or less.

    Kenneth W Gareau (Harry Keeton Sr. Great Grandfather, Harry Keeton Jr., Grandfather. For your reference)

    [Paragraph breaks added. Mod]

  77. Blade says:

    Very well done Paul. It needed to be said. Although I would go even further and say that in these northeast liberal cesspool states teeming with democratic-socialists, they have created a dangerous new paradigm by using all manner of weather to be milked for all they’re worth. Whether it is drought, flood, heat, cold, named-snowstorms it won’t matter. Each and every single one from here forward will end up costing twice or ten times what it should as the local leftist political swine declare this and that an emergency and beg for “free” fed/state money to offset their already massively bloated liberal budgets. And there is no end in sight because of the posture that the media is taking in support.

    Tropical Storm Irene was just the beginning, Sandy, mostly a tropical storm ( “The highest recorded wind gust in New York was 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) at Islip” ) ratcheted it up further. You might as well just start writing blank checks for the northeast corridor now because wealth redistribution is all these commies know. And why not? They even did it with 911, rolling in billions of dollars of new emergency revenue streams and quickly building two new stadiums ( Yankees, Mets ) while the WTC is still under construction. You see, they have discovered a new fountain of cash in the alarmist pseudo-scientific world of wild-weather. Just turn on the Weather Channel to browse the latest itinerary.

    Lower Manhattan has doubled in width over the centuries. World Trade Center construction alone contributed 1.2 million cubic yards to build Battery Park City, narrowing the Hudson River by another 700 feet. The East River has likewise been hemmed in, while other water channels have been completely filled. Buildings, malls and raised roadways constructed on former potato fields, forests, grasslands and marshlands have further constricted passageways for storm surges and runoff.

    Useful illustrations: Steve Goddard has a couple of good images here, and Anthony himself posted this animation earlier.

    It is surprising how few people even realize the vastness of modern land expansion. And it is not just down in lower Manhattan but in most coastal cities around the world, anywhere the population has the means to move large quantities of earth. I would think there is a quantifiable increase in sea level just from land reclamation ( always wondered why the “re” prefix is used ).

    In truth, it will would take a massive storm surge to make the original perimeter of Manhattan even slightly wet. But the real point is that they will never build a 20 foot sea-wall because it defeats their purpose of taking in other peoples’ money. And besides that, it would obscure the river view for snotty Manhattanites walking their Yorkies and Shih Tzus ( and leaving their crap for the lower class to clean up). If anyone doubts that Mayor Doomberg and others are actually hoping for inclement weather, I have a bridge for sale.

    Regardless, I am still hoping for construction of a sea-wall. Because we can then easily convert it to a more practical use …

  78. Pat Moffitt says:

    Blade-
    The development of the New York waterfront and the dredging of the harbor should increase surge heights. Water when pushed must go somewhere and reacts to restriction by rising in height and speeding up- think Bay of Fundy. The Hudson and the East River both that can work as a surge relief valve but have also seen their channels constricted by development. Harbor dredging also allows more water to move with less drag. In fact there is a 1905 NYC engineering report discussing the the increasing surge height as a result of increasing development.

  79. Pat Moffitt says:

    kwg1947 :
    The new Arverne by the Sea development added 1/2 million cu. yds of fill to raise the entire development site about 5 feet. See http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/19/a-much-criticized-pocket-of-the-rockaways-built-to-survive-a-storm/ The surrounding areas are significantly lower in elevation which means there is great potential for increased flooding of these adjacent properties.
    Additionally, NYC’s 1989 Averne URA planning report admitted that this section of beach was highly unstable and would require constant and continuing sand replenishments into the future. (Due to the sand blocking effects of the inlet jetties)

  80. Lewis P Buckingham says:

    Jack says Dec 29 12 09 pm Tom in Texas op cit
    You are right about the Qld incompetence against a forecast La Nina that meant they believed the dams would never fill despite their own forecast of heavier rains.
    The back story is that the Federal government put a tax on the rest of Australia, the ‘flood levy’.
    Queensland was the only state that had not bothered to insure against the flood.Sounds familiar.
    Except in the Qld case the spin machine self destructed and the government fell to be reduced to fitting into a small minivan.
    This is not the US narrative, to use a Monkton expression with personal interpretation for those in the US,
    ‘Do not cry for us in Australia, cry for yourselves and your children”.

  81. kwg1947 says:

    @Pat Moffit: “The new Arverne by the Sea development added 1/2 million cu. yds of fill to raise the entire development site about 5 feet. See http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/19/a-much-criticized-pocket-of-the-rockaways-built-to-survive-a-storm/ The surrounding areas are significantly lower in elevation which means there is great potential for increased flooding of these adjacent properties.
    Additionally, NYC’s 1989 Averne URA planning report admitted that this section of beach was highly unstable and would require constant and continuing sand replenishments into the future. (Due to the sand blocking effects of the inlet jetties)”

    The house may have been raised 5 feet but I assure you that would not have caused the other areas to be more vulnerable. I lived there. The streets were not raised and if you google earth the address I listed, and then street view it you will see this would have minimal effect. Also there are no inlets at the location of the project. The closest inlet is 70 city blocks to the east, between Far Rockaway and Long Beach! The project is not even close to being finished and does not extend eastward to the area I spoke about (Beach 35th Street). The only other inlet is west about 10 miles from the project. Bordering the project are high rise buildings two blocks to the west and on the north side of Shore Frony Parkway (I previously called it by the wrong name of Rockaway Beach Pkwy). I have walked the streets there and that 5 ft fill is and was the least of the issue for the areas devastation. The elevation at the beginning of the parkway is 9ft above sea level and it declines to 5 ft above sea level as you move northward. The
    Google Earch map is from 2010 but nothing much has changed that would affect what I spoke about.

  82. Michael of Brisbane says:

    Hey Markx, thanks for writing that.
    You’ve made me feel a little bit better.
    I have sent a message to their “contact us” thingy asking for my name and account details to be removed.
    Hopefully someone will actually do it.
    Cheers!

  83. mogamboguru says:

    martinbrumby says:
    December 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Just a query from a Civil Engineer in the UK.

    How come no tidal barrier has been proposed?
    And why, at least, aren’t critical subway / tunnel entrances provided with storm surge barriers?

    Cost? Peanuts compared with the losses that Sandy caused. And obviously better value than pouring taxpayers’ money into Ruinable Energy projects (that don’t work).

    Unbelievable. I can’t believe that Civil Engineers haven’t pointed this out years ago. No doubt the politicos didn’t see it as a vote winner?

    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    Martin, you just gave yourself the perfect answer to your question, because normally it’s not Civil Engineers, who are designing and building those big infrastructure projects throughout the USA, but the notorious “U.S. Army Corps of Engineers”, who are designing and building big city, state and national infrastructure projects.

    And as a sub-division of the Pentagon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is extremely succeptible to political influence and pressure – i.e. to build any piece of infrastructure at the least-possible cost, for example – even if that means insufficient provision for emergencies or shoddy workmanship (like in the US-Embassy in Baghdad, for example…).

    The busted, totally inappropriate levees at Lake Pontchartrain which drowned New Orleans after Hurrican Katrina were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers too, by the way…

    If you REALLY want to improve safety and protection from natural disasters in America, then disband the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and give the task of building pieces of critical infrastructure to people, who will fulfill it in a sensible and responsible manner.

  84. mogamboguru says:

    John West says:
    December 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Found this interesting, worth reading the article:
    “The Seven Rules of Bureaucracy”
    by Loyd S. Pettegrew and Carol A. Vance
    http://mises.org/daily/5955/The-Seven-Rules-of-Bureaucracy
    Rules of Bureaucracy
    Rule #1: Maintain the problem at all costs! The problem is the basis of power, perks, privileges, and security.
    Rule #2: Use crisis and perceived crisis to increase your power and control.
    Rule 2a. Force 11th-hour decisions, threaten the loss of options and opportunities, and limit the opposition’s opportunity to review and critique.
    Rule #3: If there are not enough crises, manufacture them, even from nature, where none exist.
    Rule #4: Control the flow and release of information while feigning openness.
    Rule 4a: Deny, delay, obfuscate, spin, and lie.
    Rule #5: Maximize public-relations exposure by creating a cover story that appeals to the universal need to help people.
    Rule #6: Create vested support groups by distributing concentrated benefits and/or entitlements to these special interests, while distributing the costs broadly to one’s political opponents.
    Rule #7: Demonize the truth tellers who have the temerity to say, “The emperor has no clothes.”
    ———————————————————————————————————————

    John,

    in your contribution, you just put down “The 7 Golden Rules Of The Obama-Administration”.

    Perfect! Absolutely fitting!

  85. mogamboguru says:

    John F. Hultquist says:
    December 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    following Tonyb, Martinbrumby asks “And why, at least, aren’t critical subway / tunnel entrances provided with storm surge barriers?”

    Manhattan is like a gargantuan Swiss cheese. Many entrances to the labyrinth are old and unused, even unknown. Shortly after Sandy a news article explained this issue but I did not save it.

    ————————————————————————————————————————–

    I beg to differ, John.

    There’s no such thing as unknown pieces of underground infrastructure. Even here in Germany, where cities were ravaged and devastated during the firestorms of WWII, each and every canal, siever, undercround cable, tunnel etc. can still be located and tracked through the still-existing construction plans.

    Whoever claims that in American cities unknown parts of old infrastructure would exist, is simply not telling the truth – probably, for a reason.

    Or have the archives of american cityhalls been purged or burned during the Cold War? I think not – at least, not worse than german cityhalls’ archives habe been purged and burned during WWII.

  86. Gamecock says:

    Theodore White says:
    December 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    The mid-Atlantic and Northeast (again) are never prepared. The states and cities of New York and New Jersey are coastal so I agree with Driessen when he writes that, “Incompetence, stupidity, diversion, blame shifting, and false solutions to imaginary problems,” are responsible for the mess.

    =================================================================

    I wish to add to what liz953 said. Most of the discussion here is about the general governments’ malfeasance. But just as great a problem, perhaps greater, was the failure of individuals to prepare.

    I saw on TV a quarter-mile line of people getting bottled water being distributed in a storm damaged area. Everyone in that line had a week’s notice that their area was going to get hit, and each failed to lay up a supply of water. Being in that line showed that you aren’t a victim, you are an idiot.

  87. Blade says:

    Pat Moffitt [December 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm] says:

    “Blade-
    The development of the New York waterfront and the dredging of the harbor should increase surge heights. Water when pushed must go somewhere and reacts to restriction by rising in height and speeding up- think Bay of Fundy. The Hudson and the East River both that can work as a surge relief valve but have also seen their channels constricted by development. Harbor dredging also allows more water to move with less drag. In fact there is a 1905 NYC engineering report discussing the the increasing surge height as a result of increasing development.”

    I would only change “should increase surge heights“, to “could“, because if designed correctly it shouldn’t happen. It could even be said to mitigate storm surges because if you happened to stayed nice and dry living inland but were actually right on the original perimeter of the island then that massive addition to Manhattan real estate by earth fill actually served as a de facto storm surge barrier. In the 17th century your place would have been demolished. All that landfill would have actually insulated you. Or not, because the large variable of underwater drainage and subways that alters what we might expect from a big storm viewed from our above ground vantage point. It is human beings hammering out all these endless multi-year projects and invariably we read of some unexpected discovery from a poorly documented older project that causes sudden changes to their carefully thought out plan for their new project. Consequently, you cannot really predict anything down there.

    However my real point is that a little common sense and social Darwinism is needed: if you want to live near the water you might get wet; if you want to stay dry do not live near the water. More importantly, the only people who should be paying a single red cent to keep them dry are they themselves, not people in Westchester or upstate. Of course the thing is so rigged now that it does not work that way. People outside of this area might not believe this but those of us who escaped from the 5 boroughs to points North are still paying for city mass transit ( subways, etc ) through the MTA and their insatiable appetite for money. There seems to be no escape and their grand plans will never be completed either.

    The other point I was trying to make is that now, you all, I mean all of you WUWT readers *outside* of NY, in towns all around America are being sucked in too. The chain-reaction of local to state to federal disaster is allowing you all to chip in now! And mark my words, it will never stop. The precedents have been set. Our national government has morphed into a weather insurance policy. Come rain, snow and even fog, if the local liberals need cash to continue distributing needles to heroin users or condoms to kids they will offset their pet budget shortfalls with your cash one way or another. Welcome to the Party pal!

    The liberal mindset is a no-consequence Ponzi scheme. It has evolved into the proverbial person that uses one credit card to pay off another, adding new credit cards as necessary. This new weather component of the scheme will now naturally include rebuilding everything from the French Quarter in Nawlins, to floating houses on the Mississippi, to lava fried houses in Hawaii, to wildfire torched houses in Malibu, to snowstorms in Chicago and Buffalo and of course anything else that will inevitably be classified as severe weather. And to rub salt in your wounds, the local liberals that obtain the cash are heralded as heroes in the press as “fast-acting” and “compassionate” and “hard-working” mayors and governors because they held their hand-out to an equally socialist FedGov . The only question is, will they ever run out of credit cards. I got news for you, the democratic-socialists do not think so.

  88. Blade says:

    mogamboguru [December 30, 2012 at 5:52 am] says:

    “I beg to differ, John.

    There’s no such thing as unknown pieces of underground infrastructure. Even here in Germany, where cities were ravaged and devastated during the firestorms of WWII, each and every canal, siever, undercround cable, tunnel etc. can still be located and tracked through the still-existing construction plans.

    Whoever claims that in American cities unknown parts of old infrastructure would exist, is simply not telling the truth – probably, for a reason.

    Or have the archives of american cityhalls been purged or burned during the Cold War? I think not – at least, not worse than german cityhalls’ archives habe been purged and burned during WWII.”

    Actually John is absolutely right. It has been happening for years and years in NYC and I would bet other cities. They are always bumping into things a century old. Discoveries are made, current plans are changed, construction re-routed.

    That German infrastructure is methodically planned and executed will surprise no-one really, but over here in perennially corrupt cities with citizens and politicians with short attention spans and fretting over their next political campaigns, well they cannot be expected to do the right thing and worry about all those details. I can’t recall talk about a fire destroying records but it is obviously possible.

    It is getting better though. These days if you watch them they are using a strict color coding above ground to identify various utility lines, and the new stuff going in the ground is well-planned and organized, but they will still be discovering old wires, drainage pipes, tunnels, incompleted projects, even mass graves and other historical artifacts for many many years.

  89. Bob Mount says:

    “Global Warming/Climate Change” has become the mother of all political excuses; to do nothing or anything.

  90. otropogo says:

    The story of Sandy and NYC is simply another sad repetition of the disasters in New Orleans and Fukushima – the same inadequate preparations, followed by similar sweeping under the rug of preparations that might have averted disaster, and continued useless hand-wringing.

    In Fukushima, one nuclear plant closer to the quake’s epicenter than Daichi’s survived the incident unscathed, and a single village, Fudai, was fully protected from the tsunami by its 50 foot/15 meter seawall. Yet most reports of the disaster screamed “seawalls fail to protect Japan’s coast”, not that all but one were built 15 feet too low.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-20114463-10391709.html

    The effect is to discourage any attempt at protection as a waste of money and effort. If the remaining coastal villages have moved to build (or rebuild) their seawalls higher as a result of this disaster, I have found no sign of it. One nuclear plant (Hamaoka) has undertaken to build a 21 meter high seawall.

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/completion-of-hamaoka-plant-tsunami-seawall-delayed

    Most disturbingly, the fact that Daichi’s Fukushima reactor #1 was severely damaged before the tsunami struck, and likely had meltdown from the earthquake alone – a detail that Tepco concealed successfully for three months – seems to have been completely forgotten here in the West.

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2011/07/meltdown-what-really-happened-fukushima/39541/

    But humanity faces a problem much more fundamental and dangerous than hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear accidents, solar or nuclear EMP, or even asteroid strikes, singly or in combination. At a time when society has become desperately dependent on reliable data and analysis for its continued survival, what is perceived as the truth by the great majority of the public is determined by the equivalent of a shouting and wrestling match among three year olds. Whoever has the most robust lungs and/or energetic fists determines the truth.

    Few of us, even in the most developed countries, are stubborn enough to resist the deluge of misinformation and misinterpretation that assaults us from all sides. And when we do, we often pay a very high price in our personal lives, when family, friends and associates increasingly find us too “out of step”.

    Yesterday evening I happened to watch a National Geographic special called “Extreme Ice”, circa 2009, IIRC, with my wife, and couldn’t help interjecting some critical remarks about the long since universally discredited predictions of the Himalayan glaciers disappearing in 50 years, as well as sundry illogical conclusions. They were not well received by my audience.

    I really wanted to turn off the audio and simply enjoy the wildly reckless icecapades of the “scientists” in the video, but knew better. And my wife is no fool, nor ill-educated. She simply tires of being “out of step” with the perceived majority view. And, unfortunately, there are no toxic recalls or “best before” dates on bogus documentaries. Ironically, the video was broadcast on British Columbia’s public “Knowledge.net” TV channel.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know that swatting away at the growing swarm of misinformation and misinterpretation will never succeed.

    A good start would be to devise a computer program that could apply simple rules of logic to scientific reports highlighting and explaining any contradictions found. Such a program would be equally useful in our courts of law.

    Publishing of non-fiction (perhaps even of science-fiction) could also benefit immensely. The text of manuscripts could be examined by such a program both pre- and post-publication and assigned a “BS” score, helpful both to editors and potential readers.

    Perhaps, with a tool like this, the average lay reader could learn to think for himself again on important scientific issues, and thus take an informed and reasoned position on critical decisions society much face.

    Even those perfectly capable of rigorous logical thinking would benefit from such a tool, if only to weed out the vast bulk of “scientific” nonsense currently being published.

  91. Pat Moffitt says:

    kwg1947 says:
    “The house may have been raised 5 feet but I assure you that would not have caused the other areas to be more vulnerable. I lived there. The streets were not raised and if you google earth the address I listed, and then street view it you will see this would have minimal effect. Also there are no inlets at the location of the project. The closest inlet is 70 city blocks to the east, between Far Rockaway and Long Beach! The project is not even close to being finished and does not extend eastward to the area I spoke about (Beach 35th Street). The only other inlet is west about 10 miles from the project. Bordering the project are high rise buildings two blocks to the west and on the north side of Shore Frony Parkway (I previously called it by the wrong name of Rockaway Beach Pkwy). I have walked the streets there and that 5 ft fill is and was the least of the issue for the areas devastation.”
    Moving water must go somewhere. When constrained it rises higher and moves faster. Please explain where the water displaced by the Averne fill went?
    Don’t confuse the general Arverne area with the location of the new Arverne by the Sea condominium project—it is not 70 blocks.
    It is beyond this posts intent to explain in full the influence of wave direction, jetty placement at the East Rockaway Inlet and the impacts on the long shore drift of sand along this barrier island. Suffice it to say the jetty is cutting off the sand supply and causes an erosional zone in the lee behind the jetty (In fact it reverse the direction of longshore drift). Multiple Army Corps reports on this subject available on internet.

  92. Pat Moffitt says:

    Blade says:
    “I would only change “should increase surge heights“, to “could“, because if designed correctly it shouldn’t happen. It could even be said to mitigate storm surges because if you happened to stayed nice and dry living inland but were actually right on the original perimeter of the island then that massive addition to Manhattan real estate by earth fill actually served as a de facto storm surge barrier.”
    If you constrict the area of the harbor you will see higher surge levels- period. Landill is only a “barrier” if the landfill elevation is higher than the storm surge elevation. Much of New Yorks landfill development is lower than projected flood levels.
    Additionally, a barrier makes the surge higher for those outside the barrier’s protective zone. A simple test -take a pan of water and put some rocks in it. The top of the rocks stay dry and the water rises around it. The fill (rocks) protect what is built on top of it but creates new flood risk for the surrounding properties. It should also be remembered all that new NYC landfill development relies on mass transportation that is BELOW sea level.
    Think of a wall of water (surge) moving towards any of the rivers draining to NY Harbor with tremendous force behind it. Development has restricted the channel. The water has to rise just like it does in the Bay of Fundy.
    Harbor dredging also makes surge higher by reducing the frictional forces at play. (A fact a recent study on Jamaica Bay also concluded)
    My point here is not to say development is good or bad- or that we need to make NY Harbor impassible to ships but rather to stress we need to get the science basics right if we are to find some acceptable menu of tradeoffs to mitigate the problem.
    It would be easy to resolve this issue with the NY Harbor SLOSH models.

  93. Excellent article!
    The enemies of truth are winning because they have a better message?

  94. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bloomberg had turned thumb’s down on the surge-barrier idea in years past and therefore that his endorsement of Obama and his citing of global warming as the cause of Sandy was a preemptive attempt to deflect blame for his inaction. His endorsement of climate-change alarmism would be a perfect fit with his greenie “skepticism . . . that big engineering solutions are the answer.”

    Here’s something I posted a couple of months ago, in response to the comment below, but it bears repetition:

    Gamecock says:
    November 4, 2012 at 4:42 am

    Bloomburg believes in CAGW. He believes sea level is rising. He endorses Obama because of his alleged belief in CAGW.

    As mayor of New York for 11 years, he has done NOTHING to protect Lower Manhatten from the presumed rising tide. It cannot be rationalized that he blames CAGW and yet did nothing to prepare.

    Roger Knights says:

    In a bit of pro-active CYA, he or TPTB commissioned the following 2011 study, which frowns on preventative measures, because they provide “a false sense of security” (because they can’t protect against the worstest case) and thus amount to “disaster by design.” Instead, low-lying New York should pick up and move, reverting their spaces back to parkland. Dig it:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/111610145/NYC-Worst-Case

    RISK INCREASE TO INFRASTRUCTURE DUE TO SEA LEVEL RISE.
    Klaus H. Jacob, Noah Edelblum and Jonathan Arnold.
    Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
    [A center of warmist alarmism, I believe, and possibly chosen for that reason—Roger Knights]
    ———–
    [pp. 49-51:]

    Generic options for mitigating against the increased coastal storm surge hazards and risks to the MEC’s infrastructure (and to other built assets) may include the following, regardless of the political or fiscal likelihood to realize them. They fall essentially into two categories: protective engineered solutions and those based on landuse changes. In more detail, they include the following.

    (1) Short-term “Protective” Measures Using Local Engineering .

    Individually engineered solutions can be achieved by raising individual structures and systems or critical system components to higher elevations. This may be done without moving them laterally to higher ground. Alternate solutions my include surrounding the exposed structures with local sea-walls and dykes, as for instance has been done by the PANYNJ [Port Authority of NY & NJ] for the La Guardia Airport. The problem with such engineered solutions is that after completion, they often give for some time a potentially false sense of security and encourage new asset concentrations behind the protective defenses. They often simply postpone rather than eliminate renewed flooding. When flooding recurs during the most extreme events, then they tend to be associated with even larger losses when the engineered protections are overwhelmed. This phenomenon, together with some of the earlier flood insurance policies, has led to the newly coined term “Disasters by Design” (Mileti, 1999).

    By that logic, we shouldn’t require cars to have seatbelts, buildings to have fire extinguishers or fire escapes, etc., etc.—Roger Knights

    (2) Regional Mega-Engineering.

    The model for the mega-engineering approach is provided by the Netherlands where a large portion of the land, population and infrastructure is “protected” [note the sneer-quotes—Roger Knights] from the North Sea by major regional dam, dyke and levee systems, rather than by individually built local systems. In the US the Mississippi River dyke and levee system built largely by the US Army Corps of Engineers protecting New Orleans and many other cities (for the time being) [another sneer—Roger Knights] is the nearest example. If applied to the MEC region it would mean the future gating of the entrances to the New York harbor estuary, while somehow providing passage of ship traffic and outflow of freshwater and sediments from the Hudson, Passaic, Raritan and lesser river systems. Such mega-solutions have occasionally and half seriously been suggested [The endnotes contain no references to them—Roger Knights] , but have been rejected as far-fetched, utopian [Not as compared to “moving laterally to higher ground” (see below).—Roger Knights] , and in the long run environmentally unsustainable [that term pushes “environmentalists” hot buttons—Roger Knights] for many reasons, silting of the New York Harbor being only one such cause for concern. Also such a “solution” could lead to the ultimate disaster by design if the protective system were to fail by an extraordinarily extreme event. [So the Thames barrier should be dismantled, and the one protecting Leningrad, etc.?—Roger Knights]

    (3) Long-term Remedy – Changed Landuse.

    Perhaps the sole effective solution is a fundamental change in landuse. It implies to move, when and wherever possible, the infrastructures and other assets to higher ground. They would be moved not only vertically, but also laterally. If space does not exist or cannot be made available, in some instances it may be possible to put the infrastructure systems underground and have only their entrances located at sufficiently safe high ground. The freed water front spaces can then be turned into parks and recreational areas with low asset density where flooding losses can be kept minimal. Obviously such measures require large fiscal resources, a long-term planning, tenacious political will and foresight – all generally in short supply in a political landscape that is dominated by short-term economic gain and fierce competition.

    In reality it is likely that combinations of solutions 1 and 3 (but probably not 2) will be applied in time as sea level keeps rising with continued global warming, on a generational time scale. The challenge will be to accelerate mitigation before the losses start to drastically increase in frequency and magnitude.

    There are other options. One is to do nothing and pay when disaster strikes. Given the magnitude of the outlined risks this does not seem a realistic option that a developed society could afford. It would seem an unlikely option for the very metropolis that is keen to retain a position as a global leader in world financial markets. Risk management is a core concern of financial institutions and markets that dislike uncertainty. Whether the region is prepared to exercise forward looking risk management is a topic we defer to the sector report on “Institutional Decision Making (Zimmerman and Cusker, this study).

    The problem outlined earlier, that losses do not tend to occur in annualized steady small doses, but instead in rare, large, sudden and extreme events, may point to a solution rather than a problem. That solution may build on the seemingly reverse modus operandi: i.e. mitigation measures, especially those associated with changes in landuse and rezoning, may be more readily implemented in small incremental steps rather than in single large-scale political actions. True, post disaster conditions often provide windows of opportunity. But typically they do so only, if sound plans are ready and widely known before the disaster strikes. Therefore one should not wait to begin planning until after the disaster strikes. Assessment and planning time is now. Implementation will come later, often by surprise opportunities. The technical vision needs to be grand and all encompassing and requires a master plan of extraordinary complexity and longevity. It also must ensure that the solutions and actions for the future link with actions for solving today’s problems. Once the planning is in place, the administrative implementation could be incremental and hence affordable if correctly prioritized. This would require concentrating first on the most exposed and most essential assets, and then steadily move on to the less exposed and less important or less valuable assets and systems. Largely lacking at this time are the technical and scientific assessments that provide sufficient detail, spatial resolution, and hence technical credibility. This credibility is needed to form a vision that can get the process started based on technical merit. The solutions (or lack thereof) will always be part of the political and socioeconomic processes. The technical findings must be widely accessible to ensure a reasonably equitable discourse and input towards a public consensus before it comes to hammering out the actual policies and solutions under conditions of political realities and fiscal constraints.
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    [pp. 52-53]
    Conclusions and Recommendations.

    The Metropolitan east coast region with New York City at its center has nearly 20 million people, a 1-Trillion dollar economy, and 2-Trillion dollars worth of built assets, nearly half of which are invested in a complex infrastructure.

    Many elements of the transportation and other essential infrastructure systems in the MEC region, and even some of its regular building stock, are located at elevations from 6 to 20 feet above current sealevel. This is well within the range of expected coastal storm surge elevations of 8 to more than 20 feet for eastern tropical and extratropical storms. Depending on which climate models will apply, the sealevel rise over the next 100 years will accelerate and amount to at most 3 feet by the year 2100. This seemingly modest increase in sealevel has the astonishing effect to raise the frequency of coastal surging and related flooding by factors of 2 to 10, with an average of about 3.

    The rate of incurring losses from these coastal floods will increase accordingly. Expected annualized losses from coastal storms, in the order of about $ 1 Billion per year, would be small enough to be absorbed by the 1-Trillion dollar economy of the region. However it is an unpleasant fact that the actual losses do not occur neatly in regular annualized doses. Rather they occur during infrequent extreme events that can amount to hundreds of billions of dollars for the largest events, albeit with low probability. Such large losses would deprive the economy of tens of percent of the gross regional product (GRP), a forfeiture that will be hard to bear. Insurers, policyholders and non-insured will be stretched to the brink. If the frequency of these and lesser events increases by factors of 2 to 10 due to accelerating sea level rise, mitigating actions will become urgent. The region will be in a race between increasing losses and needing to afford, at the same time, the costs of mitigation and remediation.

    The region is already in the process to revamp its basic infrastructure at costs approaching a good fraction of 100 Billion dollars per decade. Therefore, the most cost- effective way to harden the infrastructure against future coastal storm surge losses would be to account for the increased flood potentials. A coherent policy is needed which should be based on technical input. Some uncertainties exist and will persist even after future detailed technical and scientific studies are performed which are needed to avoid unnecessary excessive remedies. However, these uncertainties must not be used to justify inaction since it is inevitable that the losses will accelerate just from the sheer growth of built and newly exposed assets alone.

    The best mitigation is to avoid placing new or refurbished assets at low elevations. This requires an innovative landuse plan, tough zoning enforcement, and would be best combined with new engineering codes that place all critical components at sufficiently high elevations. [“Refurbished” could be interpreted, by a zealous enforcement agency, as covering preventative maintenance, and even mere maintenance.—Roger Knights] This objective could be well achieved by a Voluntary National Model or Reference Code. The usual local privileges to adopt the recommended standard into local law should be preserved. The National Flood Insurance Program’s Q3 mapping effort administered by FEMA may have a new and innovative role to play in this respect. Congress may need to put the necessary resources in place for NFIP to move from the past haphazard process of updating the flood zone maps to one that uses already proposed modern technologies to produce improved accurate digital maps on an accelerated pace. An infusion of resources will be needed to catch up with the rising tide – not an inexpensive undertaking, but one with a likely high benefit to cost ratio.

    The problem of sea level rise that New York City and the MEC are about to face will be faced by coastal megacities and shore-bound populations all around the US coasts, in fact around the globe, in rich and poor countries alike. [Presuming global warming is accelerating—Roger Knights] New York City and the surrounding MEC region could be in the unique position to muster the financial and intellectual resources, perhaps even the communal political wit and will (sic!) to set a world-class example for how to deal with such a fundamental societal / environmental issue. [IOW, focus on CO2 mitigation. This is the policy Bloomberg has been following.—Roger Knights] NYC and the surrounding MEC could do so in par with its often self-declared status as the ‘financial capital’ of the world. The City that never sleeps? True or not, ‘mother nature’ will see to it that wake-up calls will abound.

    ”Abound” is a giveaway that the authors’ hearts are imbued with warmist alrmism. This report’s recommendations (mostly “move” & “mitigate CO2” (implicit)) are largely based on accepting warmist projections of a 1-meter sea level rise by 2100. Further, based on nature of the the paragraph that sneeringly rejected “Regional Mega-Engineering,” I suspect that this report’s recommendations reflect current environmentalism’s knee-jerk rejection of man’s large-scale defiance of nature in the form of levees, surge barriers, etc.—i.e., a belief that such a stance is never justified and amounts to an affront to Gaia. The Dutch have told “mother nature” where to get off, and we should too, in this instance. (“This I know—Mother Nature is a maniac.”—Laurence Janifer, epigraph to You Sane Men.)—Roger Knights

  95. eyesonu says:

    Roger Knights says:
    December 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    ======

    A lot to think about there.

    Rather than rebuilding in the wake of Sandy, move to higher ground. When a real serious storm next hits the rebuilt areas will be destroyed again along with others.

  96. Pat Moffitt says:

    eyesonu says:
    “Rather than rebuilding in the wake of Sandy, move to higher ground. When a real serious storm next hits the rebuilt areas will be destroyed again along with others.”

    The higher ground exists in nearby NJ – unfortunately NJ won’t let you build on it because it deems any development outside the flood prone urban core as “unsustainable.” Maryland has passed a similar law pushing all its future development into flood prone coastal areas. Incredibly, Maryland justified the need for this law on the basis of CAGW and sustainability.

  97. kwg1947 says:

    Pat Moffit: Please explain to all of us when you were at the Arverne By The Sea Project? Please explain again where all the damage was that was caused by Sandy? If my recollection was right, the main damage was by far rockaway, Beach 116thStreet westward to Breezy Point. Funny but the Arverne project is by mainly centered around Beach 73rd Street,. Far Rockaway is at Beach 1st Street, subtracting that is 72 blocks! Beach 1st Sreet is also by the inlet. Breezy points inlet is on the north of the land site, and horizontal to the land going eastward past the Kennedy Airport. Since almost all of the development is contained within a 5 block area eastward of Beach 73rd Street and is vacant sand with low level scrub pine and oak and other vegetation I guess the water surge went past my old house and over to the bayside, like it has always done in the past with far stronger storms. As to the east of the project the land is vacant except startin at Beach 32nd Street. Which is about 100 yards from the ocean front and at the 9ft above sea level height. Reality trumps wishful thinking! TheBuildings to the west of Beach 73rd Street to Beach 116th Street are also at the same levels as the Arverne project and had similar damage but not devastating klike Far Rockaway or Breezy Point did. But this is not new to the Rockaways. It has happened over and over again, until better methods are employed to correctly redirect ocean surge and sand loss due to storms. This has never been done since I was born and then sold my property in 2005. You might findi it interesting that between the 1950’s and the 1960’s, one storm caused the Atlantic Ocean to surge and meet the Jamaica Bay side of the Peninsula at the old LILCO, no LIPA power station plant. No 5 ft. land fill there. Believe what you want, it is man’s desire to live where danger lies, and his un willingness to use his brains to make it a safer place to live…they would rather pay welfare money or have someone else pay for the changes which are necessary.

  98. Pat Moffitt says:

    kwg1947
    I’m not sure we are talking about the same thing. My earlier point was not how far Averne was from Breezy point but rather from the Inlet. Much of NYC’s Averne urban renewal area (URA), of which the condo development is part, is in a highly unstable low lying area subject to overwash in major storms. While all barrier island are unstable by nature the Averne URA is particularly vulnerable given its landward migration (barrier rollover) that has been ongoing for as long as we have records. Perhaps of greater importance is its proximate location on the leeward side of the Rockaway inlet jetty that cuts off the longshore drift of sand necessary for natural beach replenishment and produces some unique erosional forces in this area. (Its why they have had to pump so much sand on these beaches in the last 80 years and why it disappears so quickly and why I made reference to NYC’s development in this area)
    The main point I tried to make using the condo project as a generic example was that raising one area and not the adjacent properties simply causes water to rise higher on the land that was not filled. Even worse it can cause increased velocities of the flood waters whether it comes from the bay or the ocean side.
    The public is being sold that it can have its beaches and have protection of homes that are constructed far too close to the ocean shore for a dune system to have a chance of working. (And the longterm protection of dunes on a landward migrating island is oversold) I’m not a believer you can have both a beach and protected development in this area. You might protect the development with a sea wall but this makes a beach very problematic.
    A much better plan would be not to build new residences on “rivers of sand” (especially those in the high erosion zone like the URA) and then demand billions from taxpayers to rebuild them when they get flooded. The building goes on because of the perverse incentives of federal subsidies both in insurance and other coastal development programs.

  99. Lars P. says:

    Jack says:
    December 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm
    … The government accepted the green CAGW story fully. …
    Well Jack, what do politicians do? What is their way of solving problems? Taxation. And when a new taxation reason is offered – with the idea “tax the sinners to create a better world” – what politician could resist to it?

    John West says:
    December 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm
    Found this interesting, worth reading the article:
    “The Seven Rules of Bureaucracy”
    by Loyd S. Pettegrew and Carol A. Vance
    http://mises.org/daily/5955/The-Seven-Rules-of-Bureaucracy

    Thanks John, the perfect addendum to the blog post!

    Camburn says:
    December 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm
    Michael of Brisbane says:
    December 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm
    Better be careful. With contrarian views, you won’t be able to post at SS very long. Even if you can back up your posts with published literature, it seems that the controllers at SS are not intersted in real science.

    Yes, many people made the experience, but it is still good to have it documented over and over again

Comments are closed.