Global Warming Behind Recent Heat Waves, Finds New Study

A new study authored by some of the nation's leading climate scientists suggests that droughts and heat waves since 1980 were caused by anomalously high temperature fluctuations. 

What's the Latest Development?


America, 2012; Texas, 2011; Russia, 2010; Europe, 2003. These are the heat waves and droughts that scientists now say were directly caused by global warming, itself a result of greenhouse gases produced by human activity. Published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the new study "compared the global climate of 1951 to 1980, before the bulk of global warming had occurred, with the climate of the years 1981 to 2011." In the first era, 0.2% of the globe's surface suffered extreme summer heat. In the second, extreme heat covered 4 to 13% of the world. 

What's the Big Idea?

Authors of the study, including one of NASA’s principal climate scientists, James Hansen, say the data show that temperature increases since 1980 go beyond the scope of natural climate variability. Despite difficulties with pinpointing the cause of specific weather events such as heat waves and droughts, "scientists have long believed that the warming—roughly 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over land in the past century, with most of that occurring since 1980—was caused largely by the human release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels." In an interview, Dr. Hansen said: "It confirms people’s suspicions that things are happening. It's just going to get worse."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less