06 Aug 2012:
Rise in Extreme Heat Events
Linked to Climate Change, Study Says
A new NASA study has found that extreme heat events are far more likely to occur than five decades ago, a phenomenon that researchers link to climate change. In an analysis of long-term statistical trends
, a team of researchers led by James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies describes how “extremely hot” summers — defined as abnormally high mean summer temperatures that affected less than 1 percent of the planet’s land area between 1951 and 1980 — have become far more routine in the last three decades. According to their analysis, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
, about 10 percent of land areas in the Northern Hemisphere have experienced such temperatures since 2006. And while the chances of experiencing extreme heat events from the 1950s to the 1980s were less than 1 in 300, the odds now are closer to 1 in 10. “This is not some scientific theory,” Hansen told the Associated Press
. “We are now experiencing scientific fact.” The shifting trend, he said, was behind last year’s Texas drought and the 2010 Russian heat wave. This summer, Hansen said, is also shaping up to fit into the new “extreme” category.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.