Feeds

British scientist calls US climate sceptics 'loonies'

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

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.