SAN DIEGO -
We may see more of these so-called "super storms" in the future.
The supercharged storm Sandy is expected to cause widespread power outages. Utility workers drove trucks from as far away as Oklahoma and Iowa to help.
One researcher suggests as many as 10 million people could be affected. That is equal to the populations of San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties combined.
The outer rain bands and the winds extend 1,000 miles in diameter. If you were to pick up that storm and move it to the west coast with the eye right over San Diego just to compare it, those outer rain bands would go north of San Francisco to Sonoma, out to Salt Lake City and out to El Paso, Texas.
Local UC San Diego professor and climate scientist Richard Somerville says these storms are forming in a changed atmosphere.
"Climate change is creating conditions more favorable for extreme weather," he said.
The same findings were recently published by the American Meteorological Society.
"There is unequivocal evidence that earth's lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and arctic sea ice are shrinking," the findings stated.
The study says the dominant cause of the warning since the 1950s is human activities.
Somerville agrees and told 10News this could result in less snow pack and more rain for some regions. Other regions like San Diego will have less rain.
Somerville says there is only one way to slow the warming process.
"To reduce the world's dependency on coal and oil and natural gas," he said. "This is quite doable."
Somerville and the AMS study both agree that there may not be an increase in the number of storms but the storms could be stronger.