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Global Warming and Hurricanes
Hurricanes are natural phenomena that happen occasionally when a certain number of
ambient conditions combine over the waste mass of the warm oceanic water. Hurricanes
are known to man and were recorded from ancient history and they were appearing even
before the existence of man. In modern ages, we have the scientific means to analyze the
frequency and strength of the hurricanes and other natural events and phenomena,
although we cannot still fully explain nor predict them. Hurricanes are formed when
storms developing over the ocean draws up water causing the air to begin to swirl as the
air heats up, evaporating more water, which creates more heat. This creates a circular
causal chain of water, evaporation, heat and more evaporation and more water all of it
moving in a circular way, eventually forming a tropical cyclone. Global warming is the
gradual increase of the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, which is generally caused
by the green house affects due to carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons and
other pollutants that have increased presence in our atmosphere. Green house is also
natural phenomena that basically sustain the life on Earth by keeping it warm. Global
warming is on the other side of the effect and man’s negative influence on pollution.
Simply speaking the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere is needed, but due to man
generated combustion of fossil fuels, the concentration of CO2 is rapidly increasing and
creating global warming with all it’s consequences. The recent events of typhoon Haiyan
in the Philippines reinforced some scientist’s belief that global warming is causing more
intense hurricanes, as well as increasing the frequency of those storms.
There are three main points or ideas that some people will relate to the intensity and
frequency of tropical storms. Firstly, sea levels are rising due to the melting of polar ice
caps. This effect of global warming could and is believed to amplify storm surges and
flooding when associated with Hurricanes. Secondly, global warming has also increased
the amount of moisture in the air. This leads to more rainfall and is also believed to
amplify the occurrence rate and strength of hurricanes. Finally, warm oceans are fuel for
Hurricanes. Global warming obviously heats sea temperatures and acts as a fuel for a
hurricane. Therefore, backing up research indicates that hurricanes have been growing
stronger in most ocean basins around the world. These three facts have been allowing
some people to come to the conclusion that global warming is making tropical storms
more intense and more frequent. Professor James Hansen says (1) that "The statement
that I have been making for decades is that storms fuelled by the latent energy in water
vapor - thunderstorms, tornadoes, tropical storms - have the potential to become
stronger, to have faster winds, as the planet warms, because the warmer atmosphere
holds more water vapor. That is a safe statement. It does not mean every storm will be
stronger, but the strongest storms will be stronger than the strongest storm in the past.”
With this statement, professor Hansen clearly links the increased rate and hurricane’s
intensity with global warming.
However, other scientists and global warming skeptics indicate that we cannot simply
blame global warming and simplify, for example the intensity of the Hurricane Haiyan by
liking it directly to Global warming. Tropical storms have happened in the past and they
will continue to happen with or without global warming, so it is unfair to say that the
storm would not have happened if not for climate change. It is certainly unfair to say that
global warming has caused this disaster, or amplified it in any way. A quote from Fred
Singer (1) states that "One cannot tie a particular weather event like this to any climate
effect, it’s impossible. Secondly, there hasn’t been any warming for at least 15 years, so it
couldn’t be due to global warming. And third, this particular typhoon, called Haiyan in the
Philippines, is not unusual, and something like this occurs every couple of years." Him
and many others stand to the conclusion that global warming had no significant part to
what has happened.
Nonetheless, it still remains imperatively important that something should be done to
stop or at least reduce climate change and global warming, even if it hasn’t been proven
to have links between Hurricanes and other natural disasters. Global warming may not be
fully understood yet and it would be foolish to continue not making any large effects to
reduce global warming for the sake of our own planet. Even if we don’t do anything to
stop global warming and climate change, super storms such as Hurricane Haiyan may
continue to happen, and if the links between hurricanes and global warming are true,
hurricanes will become worse because of global warming. So, no matter what conclusion
people believe or have arrived at, it is important that we reduce and finally stop global
warming as soon as possible to reduce the possibility of storms similar to Hurricane
Haiyan happening again and to prevent other risks and consequences of climate change.
We have to address the problem before it becomes too late to take any sort of action.
In conclusion, I believe that not enough proof is given that global warming and climate
change have a direct connection to hurricane intensity and frequency. I believe that
warmer oceans do fuel hurricanes to be more potentially dangerous, but we should not
use that as an excuse to stop working on global warming reduction. Some people blame
global warming as the cause of Hurricane Haiyan because it is a simple, easy and quick
answer to cover the responsibilities of those that were supposed to do something on
prevention and protection and have failed. The hurricane has caused disaster by
destroying the properties and killing people and that is the fact. There is not enough
scientific evidence that the disaster could be linked to global warming. But also there is a
reasonable doubt that global warming increases the main ambient and atmospheric
factors that cause creating and development of super storms like hurricanes. Global
warming is possibly responsible for increasing of air and sea temperatures and increased
humidity over the waste ocean masses. Therefore I personally support the initiatives that
are trying to reduce and stop global warming, not to stop the hurricanes, but to reduce
chance of combining the natural causes that make them super strong and devastating.
Al Jazeera – Did Climate Change Cause Typhoon Haiyan – Article/Webpage –
Accessed on 13 December 2013 – Available at: