"Frankenstorm" is the most popular name for the upcoming super-storm due to hit the eastern seaboard with floods tomorrow. As Dot Earth's Andrew Revkin points out, this nickname makes it sound like the storm was created by humans and our climate-changing ways. It's also a reference to the fact that this storm is actually the result of three storms being sewn together to create a monster, as it were.
But is such a storm really the result of human-authored climate change, or just a natural "perfect storm"?
Over on Dot Earth, Revkin writes:
But what is the role, if any, of greenhouse-drive global warming in this kind of rare system?
It's easy to say, as some climatologists have, that "climate change is present in every single meteorological event." . . . Some climate scientists are telling me this event is precisely what you'd expect following a summer in which much of the Arctic Ocean was open water.
But there remains far too much natural variability in the frequency and potency of rare and powerful storms - on time scales from decades to centuries – to go beyond pointing to this event being consistent with what's projected on a human-heated planet.
While the echo of Frankenstein in that Twitter moniker [#Frankenstorm] can imply this is a human-created meteorological monster, it's just not that simple.
The rest of Revkin's article is a thoughtful, fascinating explanation of all the possible causes for this storm. It's worth reading this afternoon, as the east coast battens down the hatches and prepares for floods. Read it on Dot Earth.