Monday, March 1, 2010
RESEARCH by hurricane scientists may force the UN climate panel to retract its claims that greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the number of tropical storms.
The benchmark 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said an increase in cyclone-force storms since 1970 was probably caused by climate change.
It followed some of the most damaging tropical storms in history, such as Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans, and Hurricane Dennis, which struck Cuba, both in 2005.
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The IPCC added that the world could expect a big increase in such storms over the 21st century unless greenhouse gas emissions were controlled. The warning helped turn hurricanes — also known as cyclones or typhoons — into one of the most widely cited threats posed by global warming, with politicians including British Energy Secretary Ed Miliband and former Us vice-president Al Gore describing them as a growing threat to humanity.
The cover of some editions of Mr Gore’s latest book, Our Choice, even depicts a world beset by super-cyclones as a warning of what might happen if carbon emissions keep rising. However, the latest research, just published in the Nature Geoscience journal, paints a very different picture.
It suggests the rise in cyclone frequency since 1995 was part of a natural cycle and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline.
This article was posted: Monday, March 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm