Severe weather sparks climate change debate

Calls are being made for more serious warnings over climate change.

A satellite image of category 5 Super Typhoon Haiyan which made landfall in the Philippines on 8 November 2013. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Calls have been made to take climate change and global warming far more seriously following recent extreme weather around the world.

In the Philippines, authorities are dealing with the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left a trail of death and destruction in its wake.

Across America's mid-west entire neighbourhoods have been flattened by tornadoes in 10 states.

Closer to home, large parts of the Western Cape were lashed by severe storms at the weekend, affecting 18,000 people.

Another cold front is expected to hit the Peninsula on Tuesday evening.

Peter Johnson, a climate scientist at the University of Cape Town's African Climate and Development Initiative, says: "Acceleration of temperature increase is called global warming. Global warming is not natural at this rate and has been caused by human emissions."

Meanwhile, Capetonians are probably wondering when their summer will arrive.

The South African Weather Service says a wetter-than-usual summer can be expected from December until February.

But the service's Cobus Olivier says hot days are definitely on their way.

He says although there's a higher than usual rainfall forecast, it will most likely be very minimal over the summer.