Last week, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines leaving a path of death and destruction in its wake. Wind speeds of more than 190 miles an hour (almost 315 km/h) make Haiyan the most powerful typhoon ever to make landfall. According to data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the area East of the Philippines where Haiyan formed, sea temperatures were about 0.5 to 1 degree above normal.
Climate scientists state that violent storms are more likely as the build-up of greenhouse gases causes the earth and the seas to warm. According to Professor Will Steffen, a researcher at the ANU and member of the Climate Council, a hotter, moister climate is already affecting storms such as Haiyan.
Typhoons (Hurricanes and Cyclones) derive their energy from the surface waters of the ocean. As the oceans continue to warmi this directly influences the storms which form over them.
Warmer seas are only one, albeit a salient part, of the extreme weather equation. There is also the issue of the temperature discrepancy between the ocean and the tops of the storms, high in the troposphere which is expected to widen as the earth continues to warm.
Climate models corroborate research which shows that storms of the future will be far more intense. Such violent weather will in turn cause storm surges which will exacerbate rising sea levels which are also attributed to global warming.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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