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NASA Scientist: Heat Waves Really Are From Global Warming 605

mdsolar writes with a tidbit from the New York Times on global warming: "The percentage of the earth's land surface covered by extreme heat in the summer has soared in recent decades, from less than 1 percent in the years before 1980 to as much as 13 percent in recent years, according to a new scientific paper. The change is so drastic, the paper says, that scientists can claim with near certainty that events like the Texas heat wave last year, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and the European heat wave of 2003 would not have happened without the planetary warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gases. Those claims, which go beyond the established scientific consensus about the role of climate change in causing weather extremes, were advanced by James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, and two co-authors in a scientific paper published online on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 'The main thing is just to look at the statistics and see that the change is too large to be natural,' Dr. Hansen said in an interview."
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NASA Scientist: Heat Waves Really Are From Global Warming

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  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @08:13AM (#40903885) Homepage

    All this drought, devastation and disaster from just under 1 degree C. Imagine what it will be like at 2 degrees! When you multiply the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of the oceans and air by 1 degree, it's a number that's off the charts. How did people think we could dump that much energy into any system and it would not make a difference?

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @08:33AM (#40904001) Homepage

    Strange your weather's not been warm. I live in Iceland and our summer has been crazy-warm and sunny, like 5C over average most days and almost no rain.

    Not that I'm complaining, mind you ;)

  • by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @08:45AM (#40904103)
    Sadly, the only sensible/rational thing to do is to maximize your own well-being. Since the world seems to be going to hell anyway, get what you can while you can. You won't be getting more of it when it is all gone.
  • Re:Hansen again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by next_ghost ( 1868792 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @09:05AM (#40904303)

    It's a hilariously distant leap of logic. Real scientists will try to correlate power output, fuel burned, soot and CO2 and methane and water vapor in the atmosphere, etc with their heat-trapping and heat-reflecting effects, and show a model that then predicts weather pattern changes based on these things. If that model holds, global warming due to such factors; if it doesn't, then global warming is possibly real (look, it's getting hotter) but the idea of it being caused by human meddling with the atmospheric composition is a myth. That's how science works: we see these things, hypothesize these effects, then point at the changes and say this is what will happen... it happens, we're right; if not, we try again.

    That in mind, global warming science is a lot of double-think bullshit. The scientists can't get the model to work quite right, and keep changing it. We're learning new things all the time, and refining our understanding of all this stuff... but while we don't understand it and are continuously wrong in our predictions, we swear that we see proof about some fuzzy concept in front of us. That's not science, it's religion. Cult of global warming.

    Interesting. How do you explain stratospheric cooling which has been directly observed in the past few decades then? Note that stratospheric cooling is inconsistent with any natural cause of global warming.

  • Re:Hansen again? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @09:06AM (#40904305)

    Or maybe because global warming is an uncomfortable truth that the powers that be deliberately bury in the name of corporate profits.

  • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @09:08AM (#40904321)

    I don't think you either read or understood Hansen's paper. The argument isn't that these events are individually impossible to occur. They all fall within the bounds of possibility for the baseline climate of 1951-1980. The argument put forward in the paper is that together they are each "once in a century" events, which means we should not get 3 of them in less than a single decade. The reason we do get them is because global warming is "weighting the dice", changing the probability distribution so that once in a century hot events occur once a decade on average, and once in century cold events occur once in a millennia. That's a rough description of the paper, you really should read the original.

    In short, the claim about Russia is false. The claim about the European summer of 2003 is also debunked. (I am not familiar with Texas.)

    Sorry, but the evidence you cited doesn't actually conflict with Hansen's paper. Each of the papers claim the events were "low predictability" events. Additionally, there's new research [] which contradicts the papers you cited that you cited, and points towards Arctic sea ice loss (driven by global warming) as the reason for the "low predictability" of those events.

    And why does Hansen not mention extreme cold recently in Alaska?—is that also due to global warming?

    Actually, it is. The same block pattern that's been keeping warm air (and record high temperatures) over much of the U.S. is keeping cold air (and cold temperatures) over Alaska. The ice loss appears to have weakened the air currents that would normally break up the blocking patterns.

    Bad weather has always existed.

    Indeed it has, however, Hansen's paper says the bad weather is biased hot now. It's like taking a 6 sided die, and changing the 1 to a 7. You won't get the same results you used to get.

  • by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @09:11AM (#40904359)

    Absolutely. Everybody who doesn't cut backs much as possible on his fossil energy use carries blame for this.

    That said, Europe also definitely has its share of conservatives who are not so eager to do anything about this. They're generally not denying the facts as loudly as US Republicans do, but they also don't consider it something that they need to worry about. As if they're hoping it'll go away if they just focus on other problems.

  • Socialist science (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @09:43AM (#40904709) Homepage

    My dad, who gets most of his news and opinions from Rupert Murdoch's corporation, and my brother, who gets most of his news and opinions from libertarian blogs, assure me that climate science is socialist science. You see, there is a conspiracy at the universities, where all the faculty is implicitly socialist (evidently not having to really work for a living fosters that political belief!) to end capitalism. Climate scientists are the cutting edge by which that conspiracy seeks to slice the capitalist throat. Everything in their journals and public pronouncements is a concerted lie in the furtherance of their conspiracy.

    What Joe McCarthy warned us about — a communist conspiracy in government (at a time where there really were some communist conspirators in government, if perhaps not as many as he claimed) — doesn't begin to compare to this (where rather than a minority of government workers being communist, over 97% of climate scientists are in on the grand conspiracy)! To find a parallel, we must look back to earlier in the 20th century, when "Jewish science" threatened to undermine that most advanced of states, Germany. Top non-Jewish scientists in Germany, many with fundamental discoveries to their credit, elucidated precisely how the "theory" of relativity and certain quantum claims from "Jewish science" threatened to undermine the Thousand Year Reich, and more than that were specifically designed to.

    From our point of view as Americans, we have much to thank "Jewish science" for. It shows how scientists, when they conspire, can undermine what they see as an evil empire. Similarly, future citizens of Greater Socialist Scandinavia may thank the "climate scientists" whose clever scheme if successful will spell the end of the Capitialist American Empire.

  • Re:Hansen again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @10:49AM (#40905397) Journal
    Just a nit-pick. The physics goes back to Fourier who predicted CO2 would be a GHG in 1824 (while inventing spectroscopy), someone else confirmed it by experiment in the 1850's (forget the name, he used glass jars, sunlight, and thermometers). A Swedish guy who's name I can't spell came up with AGW ~1900, nobody really believed him until the 1950's when hi-res spectroscopes made it possible to separate CO2 and H20 spectra. In 1958 the National Academies claimed they had detected AGW [], their basic claim has not changed, their confidence has grown with the evidence collected over the last half century.
  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @10:58AM (#40905505)

    It isn't the 1ÂC change that is the problem. It is the bad habitat practices (cities, suburbs, huge parking lots), bad transportation practices (too much driving, too much shipping) and the bad agricultural practices (mono-cropping, feedlots, grain feeding, over production, poor choices of plant species), etc.

    Most of this is caused by government subsidization of bad decisions. Stop these subsidies and there will be a lot of self-correction. Yes, people will complain about higher gasoline prices, loss of home mortgage deductible, higher food prices, etc but paying the real cost will help them make better decisions.

    All of this is reverse-able, correctable, if you have the will to do better. How much more are you willing to pay at the pump, pay for locally pastured meats, pay for locally grown foods, pay for locally produced products, pay for longer lasting goods, skip the cheap plastics, do more yourself, stop traveling so much? You can make a difference. Act now.

  • Hansen again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @02:37PM (#40908127) Homepage

    Ok, my first off-the-cuff response got modded "flamebait". I hadn't RTFA, I just based my opinion on Hansen's past publicity stunts. More, look at the timing: Right after the Curiosity landing sends NASA hits through the roof, to stage your next publicity stunt as a "NASA scientist".

    So now I've read the publicly accessible parts of the paper. I stick by my initial opinion: he's a publicity hound, nothing more. The paper is based on the trend of "hot weather" incidents starting in 1950 through 2000. Why didn't he include the 1930's and 1940's? Probably because they were hotter than the 1950's and would mess up his nice little trend. Anyway, looking for serious climate trends over a period of only 50 years is just dumb. There is a natural 60-year climate oscillation (see Scafetta, 2010) that lines up nicely with this little line segment that Hansen has chopped out. If you cherry pick your data, of course you can find a trend.

    I stick by my original message: Hansen is a publicity cow, cynically using the Curiosity publicity to advance his own agenda.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"