The US space agency said it had “chilled the sceptics” after one of its scientific studies found long-term planetary warming will only happen if external drivers such as greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
Its findings came as NASA was criticised for now appearing to be more concerned with research into climate change than getting into space and understanding the universe.
Commentators say the new NASA budget released by US president Barack Obama this week is focused on climate change research rather than its main mission of space exploration.
The results of a NASA/Duke University study released this week “provides new evidence that natural cycles alone aren’t sufficient to explain the global atmospheric warming observed over the last century,” according to a NASA spokesman.
It is said the study shows, in detail, the reason why global temperatures remain stable in the long run unless they are pushed by outside forces, such as increased greenhouse gases due to humans.
Wenhong Li, assistant professor of climate at Duke, said: “While global temperature tends to be stable due to the Planck Response, there are other important, previously less appreciated, mechanisms at work, too.
“These mechanisms include the net release of energy over anomalously cool regions and the transport of energy to continental and polar regions.
“In those regions, the Planck Response overwhelms positive, heat-trapping local energy feedbacks.