Feeds

British scientist calls US climate sceptics 'loonies'

Katrina, Rita et al. Global warming's smoking gun

The next step in data security

The chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, Sir John Lawton, has called climate change deniers in the US "loonies", and says global warming is to blame for the increasingly strong hurricanes being spawned in the Atlantic.

In an interview with The Independent, Lawton said that global warming is "very likely" the cause of increasingly intense hurricanes, in line with computer simulations.

He told the paper: "If this [the arrival of Hurricane Rita] makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation."

Lawton was speaking as Hurricane Rita is growing in strength in the Gulf of Mexico and the region prepares for another battering.

NASA has closed the Johnson Space Center in Houston in preparation for the storm, and has evacuated personnel from sites damaged by Katrina. At the Michoud Assembly Facility, a skeleton crew of just forty remains to ride out the storm.

Meanwhile, residents of Houston are evacuating the city. Traffic queues hundreds of kilometres long are forming as fears grow that Houston could suffer the same kind of onslaught that caused such devastation in New Orleans last month.

Lawton said that with two such large storms hitting the Gulf coast in such quick succession, the Bush administration should re-evaluate its position on climate change. He said if the "extreme sceptics" in the US could be persuaded to change their minds, that would be "a valuable outcome [of] a horrible mess".

"There are a group of people in various parts of the world ... who simply don't want to accept human activities can change climate and are changing the climate. I'd liken them to the people who denied that smoking causes lung cancer."

Some climatologists maintain that global warming is unlikely to have an impact on hurricanes. They argue that the increase in landfalls we are seeing now is due to a long term (50-70 years) cycle in Atlantic ocean temperatures, a phenomenon known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

However, Sir John says that it is fair to conclude that an increasingly warm climate, caused at least in part by human activity, is also warming the oceans' surfaces, and increasing the violence of hurricanes.

"Increasingly it looks like a smoking gun," he said. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.