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Is Haiyan a one-off event, or are severe storms becoming the new normal?

Super Typhoon Haiyan and climate change: Is there a connection?

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    Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 4:39 PM -

    Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines early Friday morning with winds up to 315 km/h, making it one of the strongest storms to reach land in recorded history.

    More than half a million people have been displaced and entire communities leveled. Debris has overrun roadways and aid workers are finding it difficult to reach those in need.

    On Monday, officials at a U.N. conference on a global climate treaty in Warsaw were quick to blame the disaster on climate change.

    In an article in the New York Times, Naderev Saño, a representative for the Philippines, said the current global "climate crisis" is "madness" and urged delegates to take drastic action. 

    Scientists have argued that heat-trapping gases are warming the oceans and leading to more intense storms for some time.

    A 2013 study by Professor Kerry Emmanuel of MIT, for example, argues that climate change will cause an increase in cyclone activity, particularly in the North Pacific where Haiyan formed.

    Still, many are hesitant to announce that Haiyan is a direct result of climate change, because it's difficult to draw conclusions based on a single weather event.

    Regardless, the recent disaster is shining a spotlight on a rising global concern.

    According to the New York Times, the likeliest outcome of the Warsaw conference will be an informal agreement to cut global carbon dioxide emissions.

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