Extreme summer heat waves and droughts in recent years are the result of climate change, a top federal scientist concludes in a new peer-reviewed study.
The study by James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, could provide new political ammunition for environmentalists struggling to defend and advance climate regulations. Hansen touted the analysis he authored with two colleagues – which will be published Monday – in a weekend Washington Post column.
“These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small,” Hansen writes in summarizing the analysis of 60 years of global temperature data.
Hansen writes that the major European heat wave of 2003, the brutal Russian heat wave of 2010 and droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year can be attributed to climate change, and that forthcoming data will likely reveal the same cause for this year’s record-breaking summer heat.