Lessons from Typhoon ‘Haiyan’?

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.4/6 (1 vote cast)

The UN climate conference got off to a deeply emotional start in Warsaw on Monday. “It’s time to stop this madness,” said Yeb Sano, the lead Filipino delegate, fighting tears over the death toll of an estimated 10,000 from the typhoon catastrophe, in an address to his counterparts from almost 200 countries. The world must finally reach an agreement, he continued, to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to halt global warming.Haiyan Typhoon / EUMETSAT

“We refuse to accept that running away from storms, evacuating our families, suffering the devastation and misery, having to count our dead, become a way of life,” Sano said.Environmental organizations back Sano’s stance. “While we can’t yet say how much climate change influenced this monster typhoon, we do know that extreme weather events are becoming more extreme and frequent because of climate change,” wrote Daniel Mittler, the political director of Greenpeace International, on Sunday. Like other environmental activists, Mittler believes governments “in cahoots with the fossil fuel industry” have helped cause such extreme weather events, which they expect to become more frequent.

Stefan Rahmstorf, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), outside Berlin, also agrees. “How can those who do all they can to fight climate-protection measures sleep in view of the images coming out of the Philippines?” he asks.

SPACE-PHILIPPINES-WEATHER-TYPHOONFewer Storms, Higher Floods?

The WMO also reports that, over the last decade, there has been below-average tropical storm activity. In fact, Ryan Maue, a climate researcher at Florida State University, wrote in 2011 that worldwide tropical storm activity has reached a low point. Another study, from 2012, calculates that the number of storms has been declining since 1872.

Nevertheless, there is still the question of where things will go from here. The IPCC states that simulations predict there will be fewer tropical storms as the global temperature rises. But the most unsettling finding is that the strongest storms could get even stronger. The consequences of this could be grave, writes Yale University researcher Robert Mendelsohn. According to his estimates, the strongest 1 percent of storms could cause more than half of the damage of all storm activity combined. However, since these giant storms come so infrequently, experts say it might be centuries before it is possible to actually measure the effects of climate change.

For the Philippines, other changes in the earth’s climate might prove much more worrisome. For example, there are hardly any other places where the sea level is rising as quickly, and storm floods there continue to get higher. What’s more, climate researchers expect to see more precipitation in a warmer world, as milder air can retain more moisture. As a result, typhoons could trigger even greater flooding.

(Source: German Spiegle)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Lessons from Typhoon 'Haiyan'?, 5.4 out of 6 based on 1 rating

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.