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Humans make droughts, floods, cyclones more intense; question of climate change and tropical cyclones yet to be resolved

Posted by gmarkets on 3 October, 2007

With rising sea levels there was also a greater risk of storm surges in coastal areas, according to The Advertiser (8/8/2007, p. D10).

Humans do not make droughts, floods or clyclones: Climatologist Stephen Schneider said humans do not make droughts, or floods, or cyclones. But our actions were making them all the more intense. Professor Neville Nicholls, from Monash University, said he had a long-term interest in understanding how extremes, such as frosts, heatwaves and tropical cyclones, were changing as the climate changed, and what needed to be done to better monitor such changes.

Increase in intense cyclone activity since 1970: The question of climate change and tropical cyclones in particular had yet to be resolved. “It’s a difficult question, causing us enormous and vigorous debate in the scientific literature at the moment,” Nicholls said. Scientists had observed an increase in intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic since about 1970, which appeared to be related to warmer sea surface temperatures.

No clear annual cyclone trends: There also might be more intense tropical cyclone activity in some other regions but there were greater concerns over the quality of the data. However, there was no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones. While tropical cyclones were likely to become more intense as the world warmed, no one wanted to say for sure whether the total number of cyclones would increase, or if the area they affected would change much, Nicholls said.

The Advertiser, 8/8/2007, p. D10

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