NASA Scientist: Global Warming Behind Killer Heat Waves
James Hansen hammers away with statistical analysis
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2012 6:30 PM CDT
In this Thursday, Aug. 2 2012, photo, Dr. James E. Hansen gestures during an interview with the Associated Press at his office in New York.   (Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the US and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top government scientist. The research by a man often called the "godfather of global warming" says that the likelihood of such temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to the study by NASA scientist James Hansen.

"This is not some scientific theory. We are now experiencing scientific fact," Hansen told the AP. He blames these three heat waves purely on global warming:

  • Last year's devastating Texas-Oklahoma drought.
  • The 2010 heat waves in Russia and the Middle East, which led to thousands of deaths.
  • The 2003 European heat wave blamed for tens of thousands of deaths, especially among the elderly in France.
Hansen is a NASA scientist and a professor at Columbia University—but he is also a strident activist who has called for government action to curb greenhouse gases for years. So his study is unlikely to sway opinion among the remaining climate change skeptics.

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Aug 6, 2012 7:30 PM CDT
If scientists were looked at Earth as a living being, they would understand the functions of the ozone layer, atmosphere and necessity of stocks of water in "warehouses" of poles in the frozen condition, understand functions of sunlight and clouds, swamps and oceans, mountains and Golf stream, forests and petroleum deposits. They would understand the mechanism of the Earth's regulation of the constant temperature cycle and chemical composition of the atmosphere and water (why the oxygen in the air is 21%, and the chemical composition of water in the ocean is analogous to the composition of blood). They would understand where the winds blow, why it rains and snows. They would understand the Earth's reaction to the construction of dams, the irrigation of deserts, the draining of swamps, the cutting of forests and the extraction of "useful minerals". They would understand that today the Earth is already sick. We know about hole in the ozone layer and record fluctuations in atmospheric temperature. We know about changes in the chemical composition of the water and air, the increase in the number and scale of natural disasters (phenomena El Nino), disturbances in the stability of the annual cycle (influencing the development of living organisms) and so on. For the present day the infringement of balance of life on the Earth is felt everywhere. Many from so-called weather and natural phenomena and tragedies are derivative of functioning of a civilization as such.
Aug 6, 2012 3:30 PM CDT
Capitalism is getting in the way of dealing with global warming.
Aug 6, 2012 12:36 PM CDT
". . . his study is unlikely to sway opinion among the remaining climate change skeptics." Skeptics, what do you require as proof that industrialization has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? What would it take for you to accept that CO2 traps heat? None are so blind as those who REFUSE to see.