According to the historical record dating back to 1895, 2012 was the hottest year this country has ever seen. But it’s not just that the temperature has risen — from deadly tornadoes to the widespread coastal damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy, we seem to be living through a period of intensified and heightened weather extremes.
Whether or not these harsh weather events are connected to global warming or are simply the random violence nature visits upon us is one of the central questions that environmental reporter Justin Gillis tackles in his “Temperature Rising” series for The New York Times. The series focuses on the arguments in the climate debate and examines the evidence for global warming and its consequences.
“It’s an ongoing struggle for the scientists to puzzle out which of these things are linked and which ones aren’t,” Gillis tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies.
Justin Gillis writes about climate change for The New York Times.
Gillis notes that there is “robust, healthy science” that provides evidence of climate change. Within the scientific mainstream, however, he says there is a considerable range of views about the risks we’re running by causing what is essentially (on the geologic time scale) an instantaneous increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. One such risk is rising sea levels. Gillis says experts believe sea levels will rise at least 3 feet in the next century, and that number could be as much as 6 feet.