Climate change is happening now – a carbon price must follow | James E Hansen | Environment | guardian.co.uk
No credible scientist disputes that we have warmed our climate by almost 1.5C over land areas in the past century, most of that in the past 30 years.
As my colleagues and I demonstrated in a peer-reviewed study published this summer, climate extremes are already occurring much more frequently in the world we have warmed through our reliance on fossil fuels.
The heat also leads to more extreme sea surface temperatures – a key culprit behind Sandy's devastating force. The latent heat in atmospheric water vapour is the fuel that powers tornadoes, thunderstorms, and hurricanes. Stepping up evaporation with warmer temperatures is like stepping on the gas: More energy-rich vapour condenses into water drops, releasing more latent heat as it does so, causing more powerful storms, increased rainfall and more extreme flooding. This is not a matter of belief. This is high-school science class.
The chances of getting a late October hurricane in New York without the help of global warming are extremely small.