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Opinion

Keeler: Hunker down for Hurricane Sandy and contemplate climate change

Waves from Long Island Sound, roiled by Hurricane

Waves from Long Island Sound, roiled by Hurricane Sandy, come over the breakwater Monday morning along Asharoken Avenue between Northport and Eatons Neck. (Oct. 29, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Arnold Miller

In too many past storms -- nothing close to hurricane intensity -- our development has lost power after four consecutive raindrops.

So we confidently expect to be powerless before too many more hours have gone by. That means juicing up everything that can be juiced—cellphones, laptops, an iPad—so we can at least read during the inevitable protracted darkness. Another thing to do in the dark: Contemplate our future of freakish weather.

You haven't heard anything substantive about climate change in the presidential campaign, but climate change really means major changes in long-term climate patterns, which can spill over into short-term effects on a given day's weather. The kind of storm that used to roll around every hundred years or so will now be arriving much more frequently.

There's no way of course, to say that the behavior or magnitude of any one storm—like Sandy—is attributable to global climate change. But there's very little doubt about two things: 1) As the planet warms—and even many of those who deny human agency acknowledge that it is warming—it will cause long-term shifts in climate patterns, and many of them will produce weather that is simply not fun. Well, maybe except to my colleague, Lane, who 'fesses up to being something of a bad-weather devotee. 2) Our political leaders will avoid doing anything serious about it, until we demand that they act.

Stay safe, everyone, and think a bit about what our climate future is beginning to look like.
 

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