A new study by the man called the “godfather of global warming” says there’s no getting around it: the heat wave pounding most of the country – and the world – is the result of man-made global warming.
“This is not some scientific theory,” NASA scientist James Hansen told the Associated Press. “We are now experiencing scientific fact.”
Hansen’s latest study, which he collaborated on with Retoo Ruedy and Makiko Sato released this past January, focused on record temperature rises in Texas, Oklahoma, Europe and the Middle East between 2003 and 2011, the latter two caused thousands of deaths. The study was published Saturday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In each case, Hansen and his team concluded that the drastic increase in record highs in recent years – temperatures now likely to occur at least once every 10 days, as opposed to once every 300 days in the time from the 1950s to the 1980s – can be traced to global warming. In a column for The Washington Post Friday, Hansen intimated it might not stop there.
“Once the data are gathered in a few weeks’ time, it’s likely that the same will be true for the extremely hot summer the United States is suffering through right now,” Hansen wrote. “These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.”