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
NASA Scientist: Global Warming Behind Killer Heat Waves
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)

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. (More global warming stories.)

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