Feeds

Climate change behind extreme weather, says NASA

'Virtually no other explanation' for heatwaves and temperature rises

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has written a Washington Post op-ed in which he discusses a new climate study he says recent heat waves have “... virtually no explanation other than climate change”

The study will be published on Monday, US time, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the Washington Post piece Hansen mentions Europe's 2003 heat wave, Russia's sweltering 2010 and droughts in the USA. All, he writes “ … are not simply an example of what climate change could bring.” Hansen then offers this explanation for the extreme heat events:

“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.”

Speaking of bills, Hansen says the bottom line from Texas' drought was US$5bn, while 50,000 died in Europe's heat wave.

The op-ed is careful to point out that “Even with climate change, you will occasionally see cooler-than-normal summers or a typically cold winter” but adds that those natural extremes are getting more … erm … extreme.

“When we plotted the world’s changing temperatures on a bell curve, the extremes of unusually cool and, even more, the extremes of unusually hot are being altered so they are becoming both more common and more severe.

Hansen says we can still avoid the nastier consequences of a warming world, and writes:

“There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time. We can solve the challenge of climate change with a gradually rising fee on carbon collected from fossil-fuel companies, with 100 percent of the money rebated to all legal residents on a per capita basis. This would stimulate innovations and create a robust clean-energy economy with millions of new jobs. It is a simple, honest and effective solution.”

Hansen also says in the piece that his previous predictions on climate change were “too optimistic” and that the world is getting hotter, faster. ®

Bootnote

In Australia, from where your correspondent types this missive, a carbon tax along the lines proposed by Hansen has proved extraordinary potent political poison. The government that introduced it has seen its popular support fall to 30% of the vote, partly because it promised to introduce no such tax before the last election and also in part because the opposition has decried it as a “great big new tax on everything”.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Who wants to be there as history is made at the launch of our LOHAN space project?
Two places available in the chase plane above the desert
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.