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Storms and Congressmen Grow More Dangerous

As a prominent Japanese meteorolgist warns that Japan is atrisk to be struck by a Category 5 typhoon this year and theAtlantic hurricane season gets off to an ominious start, aUS congressman is trying to put a damper on climate researchby investigating the researchers.

The reason that storms are getting more violent is simple:ocean temperatures are rising. Japanese meteorologist KojiMurayama told theManichiDaily News, "This is just the beginning of real changes inweather patterns on a worldwide scale due to global warming.Once it begins, the common wisdom in our field is that thefrequency of irregular phenomena will increase and theirscale will become increasingly greater."

Japan was struck by a record 10 typhoons last summer, andmeteorologists are concerned that the even warmer oceantemperatures this year could mean larger and more dangerousstorms.

Meanwhile, as US climate scientistswarned on July8, the Atlantic hurricane season is getting off to a strongstart, with the second full fledged hurricane already in theCarribean, and a third storm forming in the Atlantic.

However, this does not mean that US officials who don't"believe in" global warming, are admitting their mistake.Instead, Congressman Joe Barton has started aninvestigationof climate scientists whose findings indicate that globalwarming is real. This is in line with White House attemptsto destroy elements of the scientific community whosefindings are at odds with its ideology.

Congressman Barton is demanding a vast number of detailsabout their work and funding sources from a group ofprominent climatologists, with the clear intent ofharrassing them and, it is no doubt to be hoped, terrifyingtheir colleagues into silence.

James E. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute forSpace Studies, in New York City, said, "There is somethingrotten in Washington. These requests from RepresentativeBarton seem to be harassment and a threat to researchers andagencies that deliver scientific results that displeasepoliticians."

Congressman Barton (R-TX), was in the oil and gas industryprior to his entering congress in 1984. His topcontributorsare energy companies, most notably James T. Hackett'sAnadarko Petroleum and Comcast, which has recently beenimplicated in an e-mail censorship scandal. Mr. Hackett hasbeen a supporter of the conservative think-tank, theHeritage Foundation.

No matter how effective the Bush Administration is indestroying the US scientific community's efforts to reporton the reality of climate change, the disruptions in weatherwill continue.

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