As aid finally reaches the
stricken Philippines, the question of whether or not typhoon Haiyan
can be linked to climate change has received more coverage this
With some pretty nuanced conclusions in the scientific
literature and some selective deployment of those conclusions by
parts of the media, it's become a tricky issue to navigate.
Here's a guide to some of the questions about climate change and
tropical storms, and the sometimes quite complicated answers.
Was Haiyan a tropical storm, a typhoon or a
All of the above. Tropical storm events are given different
names depending on which ocean they form in. They are called
hurricanes in the north Atlantic and northeast Pacific, typhoons in
the northwest Pacific, and cyclones in the Indian Ocean.
Does the IPCC say there's no link between tropical
storms and climate change?
No, it doesn't.
Scientific understanding of tropical storms is that they
derive energy from the warmth of the ocean and convert it
into wind strength. Some of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere is entering the oceans, causing them to