Hansen, James Edward

Hansen, James Edward, 1941–, American astrophysicist and climatologist, b. Denison, Iowa, Ph.D. Univ. of Iowa, 1967. In 1967 he joined the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and served as director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City from 1981 to 2013. Since 2014 he has been director of the Earth Institute's climate science, awareness and solutions program at Columbia, where he has been an adjunct professor since 1985. Although he early studied the atmosphere of Venus, he is best known for research (since the mid-1970ss) on the earth's climate and the causes and effects of global warming. His congressional testimony in the 1980s helped raised awareness of climate change; his early climate modeling (1981), however, underestimated the temperature increases ultimately observed. He has continued to advocate for changes that reduce human contributions to climate change, engaging at times in public activism, but has been accused of overestimating the effects of climate change. Hansen's more recent research has suggested that a 3.6℉ (2℃) temperature increase could lead to more catastrophic climatic effects than previously believed.

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