Archive by date | September 2007

The Hurricane-Global Warming Debate, No Clarity Yet

Last week Kevin Trenberth offered a perspective

on Nature Climate Feedback where he suggested that “clarity is actually emerging” in the scientific community on the relationship of greenhouse gas emissions and hurricane activity. My perspective on this debate differs from Kevin’s: Those in the tropical cyclone research community with different views on this subject remain as far apart as ever, and a community consensus beyond that presented in last year’s WMO report has yet to emerge.

Polar bears disappear

Polar bears disappear

On Friday, the US Geological Survey put out a press release about its new findings on polar bears and their future, and the press responded en masse: Google offers hundreds of stories filed over the weekend. The reports’ conclusion (AP | New York Times) is that diminishing sea ice is a serious problem for the bears, with two thirds of them at risk over the next fifty years

Row over climate change TV

Row over climate change TV

The BBC, it seems, is damned if it does and damned if it don’t. Having abandoned plans for a day long global warming special “which would have involved viewers in a mass ‘switch-off’ to save energy” it has taken fire from all sides (BBC News). As its own reporting notes it has been accused of “cowardice” by environmentalists. However, critics including some senior voices within the corporation had previously slammed the planned ‘Planet Relief’ programme as a violation of the commitment to impartiality enshrined in the BBC’s charter.

Hurricane Felix

Hurricane Felix

Hurricane Felix, currently menacing Central America, has become the second storm of 2007 to be rated category five – the highest wind speed category (updates). The Daily Telegraph says it was upgraded on Sunday from category two to category five in 15 hours – one of the fasted jumps on record. There is some debate over what this might mean. Jean-Noel Degrace, expert at Meteo-France told the AFP, “The fact that there have already been two intense storms marks out 2007 as an active year.” Mark Saunders, lead scientist with the Tropical Storm Risk, only went so far as to say it was “unusual but not unprecedented” to have a category five at this point in the hurricane season.