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Climate change to blame for extreme heat: NASA scientist

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Human-driven climate change is to blame for a series of increasingly hot summers and the situation is already worse than was expected just two decades ago, a top NASA scientist said on Saturday.

James Hansen, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, wrote in the Washington Post that even his “grim” predictions of a warming future, delivered before the US Senate in 1988, were too weak.

“I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic,” Hansen wrote.

“My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.”

Hansen and his colleagues have published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences an analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, revealing a “stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers,” he wrote.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Cody Hall
Entered on:

Comments from Anthony Watts of in rebuttal to James Hansen's NASA animation:

Anthony comments on the  NASA animation by Dr. James Hansen of surface temperature trends from 1955-1999:    

There are many issues with this presentation. It seems to be a big Cherry Picking exercise.

1. Note all of the missing southern hemisphere data.  There are operating weather stations during his time, but they are excluded from the analysis. Why?

2. The period chosen, 1955-1999 leaves out the warmer 1930′s and the cooler 2000′s. Why?

3. The period from 2000-present has no statistically significant warming. Leaving that period out biases the presentation.

4. The period chosen exhibits significant postwar growth, urbanization is not considered.

5. As for severe weather, Hansen ignores the fact that neither tornadoes nor hurricanes have shown any increase recently. Only smaller tornadoes show an increase, due to reporting bias thanks to easily affordable and accessible technology.  NOAA’s SPC  reports that July 2012 seems to be at a record low for tornadoes.

6. My latest results in Watts et al 2012 suggest surface station data may be biased warmer over the last 30 years.


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