Feeds

Climate change behind extreme weather, says NASA

'Virtually no other explanation' for heatwaves and temperature rises

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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”.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.