James Hansen: Extreme Heat Events Connected to Climate Change

BY Hari Sreenivasan  August 4, 2012 at 11:02 PM EDT

James Hansen of NASA, one of the world’s most outspoken scientists on the topic of climate change says there is now enough evidence to connect global warming to some of the extreme weather events of the recent past.
Hansen tells the Newshour in an interview that the climate dice are loaded with a greater chance that we will experience hotter summers, but also that there is a 1 in 10 chance of extreme heat events during summers across the planet such as the 2011 droughts in Texas, the 2010 heat wave in Russia and possibly even the heat wave scorching crops the Midwest now.

“In fact, [climate change] has now driven our climate outside the range that has existed the last 10,000 years…”
–James Hansen

Unlike climate studies which usually rely on computer projections and models looking out into the future, this one is slightly different. Set to be published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, Hansen and colleagues compare temperatures of the past 30 years against a baseline of the temperatures 30 years before then, and show there are far more events toward the extreme end of the average bell curve than there were before. You can read Hansen’s Op-Ed in Saturday’s Washington Post here.

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