Linking extreme weather to climate change- Scientists
Sep09

Linking extreme weather to climate change- Scientists

As we are watching with concern the unfolding extreme weather events around the globe today and in recent weeks, the relationship of these extremes to the underlying trend of climate change is being discussed by scientists. The Science Media Centre in London, UK has been collating some of these expert views. These comments are also available on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Newsroom website.   Dr Adrian Champion, of the University of Exeter, said: “The occurrence of two category five hurricanes in the same season hasn’t been known to happen since records began. “It’s difficult to predict whether Irma will continue to strengthen – they get their energy from warm oceans and, given it’s already made landfall, you could expect it to weaken – but now it’s passing over the ocean again it could re-intensify. “The question regarding whether Jose will develop into a category five hurricane is mixed. Given that Irma has just passed through, there isn’t as much ‘energy’ to intensify Jose. However, the conditions are similar. “The climate change projections are that we’ll get fewer, but more intense, cyclones in the future.” Dr Ilan Kelman, Reader in Risk Resilience and Global Health at University College London, said: “As the scale of devastation from Hurricane Irma emerges, once post-disaster needs are met, we can ask about readiness. The islands which were hit knew they were in a hurricane zone and many run drills every year to be prepared for the hurricane season. In places, it appears to have saved lives. But we always want to strive to help everyone–and to be ready beforehand to reconstruct as soon as the storm has passed.” Dr Chris Holloway, tropical storm expert at the University of Reading, said: “Hurricane Irma is a potentially life-threatening storm for the Caribbean islands and neighbouring Leeward Islands due to winds up to 185 mph and storm surge up to 11 feet with large swells on top of this. The storm is likely to maintain very strong intensity (category 4 or 5) over the next three days, probably staying just north of the Greater Antilles but still a potential threat to Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. After that, the forecast track becomes more uncertain, with the storm likely affecting the Bahamas and Florida over the weekend. “Since the storm will begin to turn more towards the north in about five days, but the exact timing of this turn is uncertain, all of the Florida peninsula, the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Carolinas and Georgia should be prepared for a possible landfall or other effects of a severe hurricane.  The main dangers with this storm are storm surge and...

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