The nation's preeminent climate scientist is warning that the nation's recent weather extremes indicate that the impacts of climate change are likely to be worse than scientists predicted.
NASA scientist James Hansen, whose 1988 testimony before Congress played a key role in raising public awareness of climate change, said Friday that very hot summer temperatures will become more common as global warming proceeds.
"The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small," Hansen wrote in an editorial published in The Washington Post. "To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills."
The variability of weather changes as the climate changes, resulting in a higher likelihood during any given summer and in more regions of the world that daily maximum temperatures will be higher than they were in the recent past.
Hansen compares this phenomena to loading the dice in a card game and points out that, according to a new study, extreme weather events are becoming more common and more serious.