NOW that the world has witnessed the most powerful typhoon ever to have struck the Philippines, (your report, 18 November) isn’t it time that we accepted the hypothesis that global-warming is the most probable cause, not of the event, but of its unprecedented savagery?
The evidence is stacking up, despite the denials of those for whom self-interest and/or complacency trigger immediate knee-jerk reactions against the mere suggestion of climate change – especially if acceptance of its reality involves changing their lifestyles.
Anyone who saw Yeb Sano, the Philippines’ lead negotiator at the United Nations’ climate-change talks, speak so movingly about the impact the typhoon had on his country would have had to have had an absolutely impervious armour of scepticism to lack the humility to at least acknowledge the possibility that there is a connection between warming oceans and the destructive power of events like Typhoon Haiyan.
In fact, the trio of hurricanes, Katrina, Rita and Wilma, which hit the Caribbean region with such unexpected ferocity in 2005, surged to their peak intensity as they passed over a channel of deep, warm water, known as the Loop Current, in the Gulf of Mexico. This current is often a hurricane booster. However, it just so happens that in 2005 it contained some of the warmest waters every observed in the Gulf, topping 32C in places. These changes have been scientifically proven – only the causes are disputed.
Even Prime Minister David Cameron has now acknowledged that climate change could be a reality against which we should insure ourselves, just in case, while many scientists agree that, although climate change is not making the risk of hurricanes/typhoons/cyclones any greater, there is increasing evidence that those which do occur are much more intense.
As always, it will be the poorest countries of the world which will bear the brunt of these extreme weather events – at least initially.
Broughty Ferry, Dundee