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As we used to say in marching band, "It's HOT."
July 7, 2012 8:25 PM   Subscribe

Looking back at the past week, as thunderstorms finally rolled into the Midwest Saturday evening, it seems that the past week's extreme heat (previously) has broken more than 3,500 temperature records in the U.S.

In further news, at least 46 deaths have been linked to the heat wave. The New York Times has information on other heat-related occurrences. The Summer 2012 North American heat wave now has its own Wikipedia page (as does the June 2012 North American derecho).

Wunderground has a great two-part series of blog posts on the heat wave.

The weirdness wasn't confined to the U.S.: Wunderground has a summary of June 2012's global weather extremes.

I found most of this by searching for "how many heat records were broken in St. Louis."
posted by limeonaire (136 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
The oppressive horrors of an NYC summer afternoon is what I imagine it would be like being clenched angrily between Satan's asscheeks.
posted by elizardbits at 8:28 PM on July 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


I have felt guilty for the past week or so. I have AC, I escaped the power outages that were all around me (just down the street) as the temps have been close or over 100 every day. I was able to work from home, looking out on the lake (empty, it was even too hot for boating) in comfort. The dawg slept on the cement floor (over the part where the AC duct ran under the floor), instead of 2 or 3 mile walks twice a day, puppy outings were restricted to the distance required to take care of business. My wife, for the past week, has been on the road from Michigan to California, helping the youngest son move out there for a new job.... Her 23 year old Volvo 240 died in Gary, Indiana, overheating... they continued with a rental car.

Finally, tonight, I sent out an invitation for anyone that needed "cool" to come by... the guilt was too much for me.

This thread is now released to your care to discuss the fact that there is NO global warming...hell no, it's not getting warmer... nope, not at all....
posted by HuronBob at 8:37 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


This thread is now released to your care to discuss the fact that there is NO global warming...hell no, it's not getting warmer... nope, not at all....

Yeah...I was saddened to see the level of discourse in the comments on some of the items I linked. I like your story, though, HuronBob; I think I'd most like to hear more anecdotes like that from MeFites across the country right now. That's one thing I love about MetaFilter: how it lets us all get in touch and share stories during strange and hard times.

Anyone else have a story?
posted by limeonaire at 8:41 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The weather in Colorado has been unbelievable. All my peas were completely frizzled up by mid/late June...I usually get another three weeks out of them at least. Going outside, it's amazing how physically oppressive the heat feels...it's like walking into a wall. I don't have air conditioning, which is not usually a hardship even in the dog days here—just open up the house at night, get the air moving, close it back up during the heat of the day. It always cools down enough at night to keep living pleasant. But this last week, I was sprawled spread eagle on my bed, straining to make sure no part of me touched any other part of me, sweating and fighting the terrible urge to sit bolt upright and begin screaming incoherently, weeping about how it's just...so...hot.

Plus the state is burning up, the air quality is horrific, etc. etc. You could feel the collective, state-wide sigh when the big rains started to roll through last night.

It would be interesting to see crime statistics related to this wave, I never had experience with the hot-weather-makes-you-crazy thing until this last heat wave, when I found myself contemplating murder because a woman took the last spot in the bike rack and I NEEDED AN ICE CREAM NOW. This is an awesome roundup of information, thanks!
posted by peachfuzz at 8:42 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's the clincher... next summer, if it does not get even worse, that is, comes close to or pretty much equals this summer, the Climate Change deniers can say... "See, nowhere near as many record highs as last year, it was just a fluke".
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:44 PM on July 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


At one point the weather widget on my phone had the weather for Chicago as a giant sun with 100F underneath it, bisected by ominous lightening. Indeed we had a brief storm that day that did nothing but increase the humidity and make everyone soggy.
posted by melissam at 8:45 PM on July 7, 2012


It was hot enough today that I went to work and wrote for four hours just to get out of the heat. My office is nicely air conditioned and my house was a 99 degree sweatbath. Plus free sodas at work.
posted by octothorpe at 8:47 PM on July 7, 2012


You know the instant I read this headline there was a huge flash of lightning and resultant downpour.

Just sayin.
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 PM on July 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here's the clincher... next summer, if it does not get even worse, that is, comes close to or pretty much equals this summer, the Climate Change deniers can say... "See, nowhere near as many record highs as last year, it was just a fluke".

Well, the alternative is we all die.
posted by Foosnark at 8:49 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


the air conditioner in my car sure picked the right damn year to die, didn't it?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:51 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, weather is not climate, right?
posted by found missing at 8:53 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Planes melting into the runway in DC
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:59 PM on July 7, 2012 [20 favorites]


I guess I shouldn't mention that it's 55f and super foggy where I am. In other words, it's a pretty typical San Francisco summer. I nearly turned the heater on earlier this evening, but I put another sweater on instead.

All you heat-sufferers are welcome to come to my place. I might make you snuggle with me, though. I'm really freaking chilly.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:01 PM on July 7, 2012 [19 favorites]


My super duper awesome husband has been driving the car-with-no-airconditioning to work so I can take his car, in which the A/C does work. He finally figured out the issue and fixed it, but I'm pretty sure he would have suffered all summer if he'd had to.
posted by desjardins at 9:03 PM on July 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hot as a fox in a forest fire around here.

In the summer, I am a believer in the global warming claim. In the winter when new record lows are recorded, not as much. I think I need to see some sort of data on trends, not just a friggin hot week! Regardless, we, as members of the group of people who live on earth, should take steps to reduce our artificial impact on our rock.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:03 PM on July 7, 2012


This part of the country (Inland NW Washington State) has had a freakishly cold and wet spring so far. The raspberries, which are usually a May thing, are only just now starting to ripen here at the beginning of July. Two weeks ago, I was wearing a long john shirt to work because the warehouse was chilly all day long. I only got the sprinkler system tuned up and turned on last week because it had rained literally every day for months.

Temperatures have risen 25 degrees in the past week, and today it was above 90, and we're supposed to be approaching 100 tomorrow.
posted by hippybear at 9:05 PM on July 7, 2012


desjardins.... you owe him, big time!
posted by HuronBob at 9:06 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess I shouldn't mention that it's 55f and super foggy where I am. In other words, it's a pretty typical San Francisco summer.

Almost all of my relatives and a good number of friends live on the west coast. I live in Michigan. While I feel fortunate that we never lost power and weren't in the path of the derecho, I'm just about to slap the next one of them that complains that it's been rainy and cool. Not that you were complaining. But they have been. Damn them all.
posted by asciident at 9:07 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Indeed!
posted by desjardins at 9:07 PM on July 7, 2012


> broken more than 3,500 temperature records in the U.S.

You forgot to factor in the low record temps. NOAA says that of those 3500 record breaking temperatures, 1034 are low temperature records. That means about 70% are high record temps and 30% low record temps. A 50/50 would be in balance with historical temps, but 70/30 is clearly favoring temps exceeding historical norms by a pretty large margin.
posted by stbalbach at 9:08 PM on July 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


In the summer of 1995 there was a week-long heat wave in Chicago. Over 700 people died.

It's kind of amazing to me that only 46 have died this year considering how widespread and how awful it's been.
posted by desjardins at 9:09 PM on July 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:10 PM on July 7, 2012


Oh, right, here's my heat-wave anecdote: Last Sunday, it was so hot here, the power lines leading to my apartment caught fire and shed a cascade of bright orange sparks. I'd never before had the pleasure of watching guys in three different trucks from the power company, two of them in cherry pickers, work to replace a section of power lines. They did it in less than 10 minutes!

Also, hopefully I didn't jinx the thunderstorm...so far, all we've heard has been sporadic thunder, but no actual rain.

You forgot to factor in the low record temps. NOAA says that of those 3500 record breaking temperatures, 1034 are low temperature records. That means about 70% are high record temps and 30% low record temps. A 50/50 would be in balance with historical temps, but 70/30 is clearly favoring temps exceeding historical norms by a pretty large margin.

I read that wrong at first, too. They're all record high temps, just of different sorts. The low-temperature records are actually maximum low temperature records—that is, records for the highest low temperature on a given day, I believe.
posted by limeonaire at 9:12 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the summer, I am a believer in the global warming claim. In the winter when new record lows are recorded, not as much

The continued existence of winter does not disprove global warming any more than the continued existence of people dying disproves an increase in the birth rate.
posted by scody at 9:14 PM on July 7, 2012 [30 favorites]


records for the highest low temperature on a given day, I believe.

No, every day of the year has a record high and a record low (day and night), for a particular location.
posted by stbalbach at 9:17 PM on July 7, 2012


It's been rather hot for June and early July here in Tulsa, but not really out of the norm for the summer extremes, other than the persistence of the pattern. Looks like we'll be getting a break shortly, so that will be nice. This year, my A/C has been working, so I haven't noticed too much. I don't mind even 105 as long as I'm only outside for less than 5-10 minutes at a time. A couple of years back, my A/C quit in the middle of summer and it didn't get fixed for about two weeks. In those two weeks there was zero rain, low temperatures above 80 degrees and highs over 100 every. single. day. Since then, I find the heat less bothersome.

When I left town in early June, it had been unseasonably cool for a long while. I got back to an epic heat wave. Apparently, there was also an epic heat wave where I was, but it seemed pretty normal (and decent enough for all purposes but sleeping) to me. I expect it to be hot in the island countries in summer.

Anyway, we've had unseasonably warm summers three years running now. The winters have been chaotic, sometimes super-snowy, sometimes no snow, few normal precipitation periods, but always a serious cold spell that I don't remember being so extreme in the past.
posted by wierdo at 9:17 PM on July 7, 2012


In the summer, I am a believer in the global warming claim. In the winter when new record lows are recorded, not as much. I think I need to see some sort of data on trends, not just a friggin hot week!

I can't think of a non-snarky way to suggest that you Google "global temperature trends."

Also, you should know that new record lows fit the current climate change model just fine. As the Earth warms. the weather gets more extreme, which will mean some weird occasional record lows while things continue to trend upward across the board.
posted by Alexander Hatchell at 9:18 PM on July 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


asciident, if it makes you feel any better, I made the poor choice to travel to Florida and New Orleans at the end of July. As someone who is acclimated to cool foggy weather, I will be suffering mightily.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:20 PM on July 7, 2012


The regional variation is really wild. We live near Lake Michigan and it was about 80 when we left the house at 5 pm last night. We drove inland for a half hour and it was 104.
posted by desjardins at 9:20 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, look, NASA has graphs of average temperatures since 1880.
posted by Alexander Hatchell at 9:21 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


As far as the maximum low temperature thing goes, I think the question is... what exactly was the low temperature record being broken?

If it was for being as cold as possible on a specific date, that's one thing. But here's a page which shows that cities across Minnesota were breaking records for the highest recorded low temperature on a given date back in March 2012, and was doing so for several days in a row.

There are a couple of different kinds of temperature records, and personally I'm confused as to what kind has been broken with this latest round of record-breaking temperatures.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 PM on July 7, 2012


No, every day of the year has a record high and a record low (day and night), for a particular location.

I think there are a couple things confused in your terminology. Not every high or low for the day in a given place is a record high or low, first of all. But we are talking about record temperatures here. Within that set of temperature records, the "low temperature" records mentioned in the Accuweather article are, as best as I can tell, records set because the low temperatures on those days of the year in those places were the warmest low temperatures on record for those days of the year in those places.
posted by limeonaire at 9:25 PM on July 7, 2012


One wonders if this heat wave will in fact lead Batman to shiv.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:26 PM on July 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's been so miserable. I had a long-planned outdoor garden party on one of the days when it was 100*F and HUUUUMID. It had "cooled off" to 99*F by the time the party started in the evening (around 96*F at the end). My house is not nearly big enough to host that many people indoors (and I think my A/C would have cried). I bought a ton of liquor because people almost drank me out of house and home at this party last year, and NOBODY DRANK because it was too damn hot. Fifty people finished one bottle of wine among them. One bottle. I actually finished the party with more liquor than I started with because a ton of people brought a bottle as a hostess gift. (Today I took some and regifted them at someone else's super-hot outdoor barbeque party where nobody drank!)

The kids have been cooped up indoors most of the last two weeks because we go to the park at 7 a.m. and it's already 88*F out; we have to pack it in by 8:30 because they're sweating buckets and bright red and warm to the touch and red in the face from the awful heat. It's just sweltering and the air is so HOT in your lungs.

Nothing that gets started in the garden after early June grew at ALL this year. I have these moonflower vines that have been 3" tall since they came up a month ago. They just won't. grow. They sprouted, but won't grow any taller. Last year they covered my entire 8-foot arbor and were climbing on each other. This year two plantings of them, and I've got a few 3" tall plants. There's been barely any rain in the past month (I can think of one day). Everything's so dry. Our water bill was twice normal last month trying to save some new perennial plantings this year.

If we don't get rain this week, the corn will not have corn sex and the crop will fail.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:31 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is the most awesome comment on a news article I've seen today:
I love it when they say "this is global warming"... yet records are being broken... If there are records, that must mean it has been this hot before...
posted by desjardins at 9:32 PM on July 7, 2012 [27 favorites]


The heat finally broke in Milwaukee *fingers crossed* but it's the lack of rain that's the most distressing. Nearly everyone's lawn is crispy and brown. I don't think we've had any significant accumulation since at least the middle of June.

When we finally got a short shower a few days ago (.07") a facebook friend posted "What is this water falling from the sky? My forefathers had told tales of it, but I thought they were just myths and stories."
posted by drezdn at 9:34 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, in Ireland most of the country is posting record rainfalls - almost three times the usual amount of rain for June. With half the average sunshine. Climate change sucks. Years ago when I first heard of global warming, I thought well at least it means we might get a few decent summers. Yes, I was an idiot. I guess when water becomes a precious commodity we'll have lots of it, even if you can't grow anything in the sodden fields.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:35 PM on July 7, 2012


Thursday afternoon I decided to drive my visiting brother and sister-in-law into the bowels of Chicago for a little site seeing and pic taking. Every time they have visited me, there's been some weather event that prevented us from leaving the house. I checked the NOAA site and there appeared to me a microscopic storm forming over Wilmette. No biggie I thought and we piled in the car. I checked my phone. It was 102 degrees with a heat index of 111. We hit Lakeshore Drive and all hell broke loose. The rain was falling so hard, my wipers couldn't keep up. The wind was blowing so hard that branches were being blown across LSD. The trees were bent so far toward the road that I thought for sure we'd soon be nothing but a LiveLeak video titled "Dumbasses Killed By Falling Tree." I was able to find a clear exit at Fullerton and we parked and waited it out. Five minutes later it was sunny and blazing hot again.

It's 78 and breezy now but we still have the AC on.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:36 PM on July 7, 2012


hippybear, suppose the historic average for a day this time of year is a high of 90 and a low of 75. But this year you actually get a high of 107 and a low of 88. That low temperature is quite close to what your normal "high" is, and might well be the hottest "low" temperature that's ever been recorded in an area.

It's interesting because it shows that things aren't even cooling off at night -- it's almost as hot in the "coolest" part of the night as it is during the "hottest" part of a historically-average day.
posted by ubernostrum at 9:37 PM on July 7, 2012


I've lived in the midwest almost my entire life, and I can't remember such a sustained period of temperatures over 95*F. We'll sometimes get it for 3 or 4 days, but then it drops back to the mid-80s or at least low 90s. I can't remember having four 100+*F days in a row before (and, indeed, a glance at the wikipedia page says Chicago, where I grew up, hasn't had that before -- the old record was 3 days).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:37 PM on July 7, 2012


limeonaire, hippybear - you are right I'm wrong, misread. They are saying night-time temps are breaking new record highs, so the 3500 is indeed high temp records all around. Still, it's useful to compare this with the number of actual low temp records being broken to get a sense of the overall picture.
posted by stbalbach at 9:38 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile temperatures were much below normal on the West Coast, as shown in the NOAA/CPC link. Global warming is real, but a tenth of a degree increase in temperature per year is not going to be responsible for Bowling Green KY clocking in at 110°F. Now if temperatures are going up across the board everywhere, all the time, that's a whole different ball of wax, but for every positive temperature anomaly I've pulled up in recent years, there's always a negative anomaly out there that tips the balance. Here is a good place to get temperature anomaly maps, though they lag by a year. I admit I've probably seen larger or more intense positive anomalies than negative ones on average lately.. maybe that's confirmation bias, but annual or even 5 or 10 year data is a good yardstick to start with instead of running the global warming ball with this week-long heat wave. I would just call this past week a shitty weather pattern and leave it at that. Heat waves are going to break a lot of records everywhere, and now that there's a lot more ASOS and mesonet stations coming online, the numbers of records to be broken with any given event are going to trend upward anyway.
posted by crapmatic at 9:39 PM on July 7, 2012


hippybear, suppose the historic average for a day this time of year is a high of 90 and a low of 75. But this year you actually get a high of 107 and a low of 88. That low temperature is quite close to what your normal "high" is, and might well be the hottest "low" temperature that's ever been recorded in an area.

Yes, that's exactly the point I was making, and I included a link to a website which illustrated the concept.
posted by hippybear at 9:39 PM on July 7, 2012


limeonaire: "records set because the low temperatures on those days of the year in those places were the warmest low temperatures on record for those days of the year in those places"

Yes, this was an episode of record high temperatures. Both daily minimum and daily maximum temperatures were at record highs in many places.

There are also record low high and low temperatures, but that's not what we're talking about now.
posted by wierdo at 9:40 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The American Heatwave and Global Warming

"Weather 10 or twenty degree above normal isn't global warming. A heat wave, even a massive epic heat wave, isn't proof that global warming is real, any more than an epic cold wave or blizzard is evidence that global warming is fake."
posted by deern the headlice at 9:42 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am in San Francisco on vacation and I have been googling the temperature in Philadelphia, longingly as I am wearing two shirts, pants, a wool sweater and all the blankets on the bed. That said we had an oddly warm, dry winter and a coolish dry spring (with patches of extremes) so the sudden arrival of the terrible heat has been kind of a shock.

But seriously SF what is this madness why am I wearing wool in blooming July??
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:43 PM on July 7, 2012


AGW means more energy put into the climate... Counterintuitively, this means records broken for both high and low temps, often in the same place. Yes, that's right, global warming allows New Englanders to sneer and say, "Hot enough for you? Wish we had twenty-below back now, doncha?"
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:44 PM on July 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


In western Massachusetts in the past two years, we have had a winter in which it essentially did not stop snowing followed by 80-degree days in April (now becoming almost normal) followed by freak early-summer tornadoes followed by a hurricane in August with disastrous flooding followed by a freak Halloween blizzard followed by an otherwise-snowless winter. This spring was also quite warm, and now it refuses to rain. Everybody's planting zone was moved one notch warmer to boot. I swear to god there is a jungle bird in the woods behind my house.

Back when weather moved in natural cycles, stuff like this only happened every few years. Now half the country is always on fire and the other half is without power. I think something weird is going on. It's just a hunch.
posted by Camofrog at 9:45 PM on July 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Here's the full data for the lower 48 states:

Year to Date | High Max | High Min | Low Max | Low Min
(Jan 1 - Jul 5, 2012) | 23,283 | 18,638 | 3,424 | 2,500
posted by stbalbach at 9:45 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


shut up, west coasters. just stfu.
posted by desjardins at 9:46 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


jetlagaddict, we get our summer at the end of September and in October. Spot-the-tourist is a pretty fun local pastime--they're the ones in shorts and brand new hoodies.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:46 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


But seriously SF what is this madness why am I wearing wool in blooming July??

Frankly, I love the climate in SF and sometimes wish I lived in a place with similar climate. I'm actually physically most comfortable wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a flannel shirt over that, and a light jacket on top of that. (I know, I'm strange.) San Francisco has climate which is pretty much the same year round (with the exception of a couple of handfuls of glorious 80 degree sunny days every summer), and it'd be awesome to live where I can wear the clothes I like wearing the most.

It's just... well, as much as I love SF... I really don't want to live there.
posted by hippybear at 9:49 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am also on the west coast, though down in the peninsula it just feels normal with days in the low 80s and nights in mid 50s, but since we are neither on fire literally or figuratively, it seems highly likely we'll fall into the ocean any day. Because karma.
posted by marylynn at 9:49 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another report from Chicago:

Just damn hot. This morning I met my brother downtown to work with him on a project. He's renting an office space in an otherwise empty floor in a premier office hi-rise. He is the only leassee on his floor right now, so we sat in an amazing board room with an unbelievable view freezing to death from the over-abundant AC. It felt like the beginning of the end - economic collapse, empty space being chilled to refrigerated temps while the city sweltered below.
posted by readery at 9:51 PM on July 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


If you have an eye for growing cycles this year has just been insane, a good three months ahead on most growing cycles, and I'm a hermetically sealed urban dweller just noticing the flower boxes and park trees, I don't even want to think about what the upstate apple growers are going through and ...what will be left by August?
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 PM on July 7, 2012


This morning I met my brother downtown to work with him on a project. He's renting an office space in an otherwise empty floor in a premier office hi-rise. He is the only leassee on his floor right now, so we sat in an amazing board room with an unbelievable view freezing to death from the over-abundant AC. It felt like the beginning of the end - economic collapse, empty space being chilled to refrigerated temps while the city sweltered below.

This would be an awesome opening paragraph for a novel.
posted by hippybear at 9:53 PM on July 7, 2012 [22 favorites]


I've lived in the midwest almost my entire life, and I can't remember such a sustained period of temperatures over 95*F. We'll sometimes get it for 3 or 4 days, but then it drops back to the mid-80s or at least low 90s. I can't remember having four 100+*F days in a row before (and, indeed, a glance at the wikipedia page says Chicago, where I grew up, hasn't had that before -- the old record was 3 days).

Mm, yes—now I remember what sent me down this rabbit hole in the first place (besides the heat itself). This is the top-10 list for St. Louis of consecutive days with a maximum temperature of 100 degrees or higher, as included in Wunderground's heat-warning info earlier.

Given the extreme temperatures over the past week... here are the top 10 lists for Saint Louis and Columbia of consecutive days with a maximum temperature of 100 degrees or higher. Both sites have reached at least 100 degrees again today. The middle number represents the number of days in the streak and the last number is the day the streak ended. An item to note is how early this particular streak began. Most of the streaks began during The Heart of the Summer season in July and August. Quincy has not been included because the longest streak has only been 3 days. In addition... their official records only go back to 1948 and do not incorporate the two extreme Summers of 1934 and 1936.

It appears that the current streak will finally come to an end on Sunday.

St. Louis (1874-present)

1 13 8/24/1936
2 10 7/07/2012*
3 9 7/17/1936
4 8 7/24/1934
t5 7 8/02/1953
t5 7 8/09/1930
7 6 7/14/1966
t8 5 7/23/1983
t8 5 6/29/1952
t8 5 8/06/1947

There are 5 previous occasions that had a streak of 5 days

Columbia (1889-present)

T1 16 8/27/1936
t1 16 7/19/1936
3 15 7/25/1934
4 14 7/20/1980
5 13 7/04/1901
6 11 7/07/2012*
7 9 8/12/1934
8 7 7/25/1910
t9 6 7/25/2005
t9 6 7/25/1918
t9 6 8/14/1894

* indicates the current streak


So yes, at least in St. Louis, it's not just anecdotal; the last heat wave this long occurred well before the majority of people* in the U.S. were born.
posted by limeonaire at 9:54 PM on July 7, 2012


SF area has been nice, hides almost all the climate change, but the wind has been totally insane. Fog is not even appearing some weeks when it should. Temperature is mostly the same as it was, but the fog, the wind, the directions of the wind, they are all unsettling as a native.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:58 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's been so goddamn hot, today we walked five blocks to the hardware store - mind you, it got up to 108 here today - and I didn't really notice. Like, you step outside and it smacks you between the eyes, and then you just...acclimate.

Of course it was 93F in my kitchen at 7am today.
posted by notsnot at 9:59 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've spent some part of every summer of my life in southern Maine, and I swear that the ocean is significantly warmer, on average, than it used to be. It used to be a lovely warm ocean when it was above 60F, and that would happen in July, a few times but not often; now it regularly reaches 65F in June. I figure the difference is about 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Like so many other aspects of global warming, it's probably bad news but rather pleasant. (Like our nearly snow-free winter, for instance.)
posted by jeather at 10:00 PM on July 7, 2012


It's just... well, as much as I love SF... I really don't want to live there.

Nobody does. We all live in South Bay or East Bay.
posted by Talez at 10:07 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Global warming is real, but a tenth of a degree increase in temperature per year is not going to be responsible for Bowling Green KY clocking in at 110°F.

Not so fast.

Weather 10 or twenty degree above normal isn't global warming. A heat wave, even a massive epic heat wave, isn't proof that global warming is real, any more than an epic cold wave or blizzard is evidence that global warming is fake.

The interesting thing here isn't that there is a big heat wave. The interesting thing is that several thousand records have been broken in a very short window of time. Just like in March of this year. Events like this are never going to amount to proof, but they aren't just irrelevant noise, either.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 10:09 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yet another Chicago report:

This past week I set about doing some minor repairs on my bicycle. As per usual, I drag the thing out onto the porch to avoid getting grease in the kitchen. After about ten minutes of tinkering with mechanical parts, my face is completely saturated in sweat. It's pouring down my head, stinging my eyes, my shirt is ruined from wiping my face on the sleeve. After another five minutes, I give up.

Later that week, I bring the bike to a shop to let them handle it. In the time it takes to walk the bike to the shop (maybe four blocks?) and back, my clothes are again totally ruined and I need to take a shower. This is a totally doable walk normally, so close that I have easily done this walk in the dead of winter (and our winters are nothing to joke about).

All of this and I didn't even own an air conditioner until last week! We've had hot summers before but the last 2-3 years have been so mild, I haven't even bothered – just turn on a fan and suffer through it for a week or two until the temp drops back to the 80s.

This summer made me finally crack. Now I have A/C in just the bedroom. I worked from home Friday and had to stay in the bedroom all day long just to keep from being totally exhausted. Today the heat wave finally broke under mysterious circumstances. Thank god. I can't take another week of this heat. Something is wrong when 95 feels like a cool day.

People keep saying it's global warming but it's mostly the people who didn't have to take a statistics course. I blame Cthulhu, Quetzalcoatl, and/or Mitt Romney.
posted by deathpanels at 10:18 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


crapmatic: Global warming is real, but a tenth of a degree increase in temperature per year is not going to be responsible for Bowling Green KY clocking in at 110°F. Now if temperatures are going up across the board everywhere, all the time, that's a whole different ball of wax, but for every positive temperature anomaly I've pulled up in recent years, there's always a negative anomaly out there that tips the balance.

Actually, that's one of the big predictions of climate change. Heat is energy, right? So when you add heat to the atmosphere, you add energy to it. This means that winds blow harder and longer, because they have more oomph behind them.

So, with all that extra energy, the warm air from down south pushes way further north than usual, causing heat records. But then that hot air displaces the cold air down south in ANOTHER location, causing COLD records. We miss a lot of this balancing act, because it happens over the ocean where we're not paying very much attention, but it's all one atmosphere, and it's getting pushed harder than it was when we were young. It's more energetic.

So, overall, the hots get hotter, and the colds get colder. Everything gets more intense, including the lows, even though the total average temperature is going up.

So, yes, a tenth of a degree temperature increase can ABSOLUTELY be responsible for Bowling Green Kentucky clocking in at 110°F. Blow some extra heat up from the tropics using the energy in that tenth of a degree, and Kentucky's broiling.
posted by Malor at 10:18 PM on July 7, 2012 [35 favorites]


You guys, wait a minute. You know what totally proves climate change is real? Fucking science, that's what.
posted by gompa at 10:26 PM on July 7, 2012 [38 favorites]


In the summer, I am a believer in the global warming claim. In the winter when new record lows are recorded, not as much.

Please repeat after me: weather isn't climate. Weather isn't climate. Weather isn't climate.

As Malor said on preview -- when you put more energy into a system that has certain oscillating behaviors you should expect to see higher highs AND lower lows, even as the average is moving up.
posted by chimaera at 10:33 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


i thought it was generally understood that climate change meant not simply everything gets hotter but rather that weather gets more unpredictable, it's a delicate system and small changes in one direction or another here result in weird changes in various directions there. or not?
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:35 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


We actually were cold this evening in lovely Grand Marais, MN after escaping the murderous heat in Minneapolis last week.
posted by specialk420 at 10:36 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the summer, I am a believer in the global warming claim. In the winter when new record lows are recorded, not as much."

Just because my friend Tony isn't drunk *right*now* isn't proof he's not an alcoholic.
posted by notsnot at 10:41 PM on July 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I say we quit calling it "global warming" and just say "increasing climate volatility" or "more-energetic weather"* or, I dunno, I guess it would need to be snappier-sounding than that but you get the idea.

I mean, if people are gonna go all anecdotal confirmation-bias on this shit anyway, we might as well give 'em an accurate impression of what counts as confirmation and what doesn't.

*UNCOMFORTABLY ENERGETIC weather!
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:42 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Checking in from DC: I was one of 500+ crazy people who got up early this morning to participate in a triathlon which featured a swim in 87º water (wetsuits not allowed and generally terrible effects on body heat), a 10K run so hot by 10 a.m. that the half-dozen ambulances posted for our use were in constant circulation and had to leave behind people who were merely hallucinating, and the announcement that its sister event tomorrow (a shorter race) had been canceled due to fears that it was just going to be worse.

I thank all relevant authorities that we somehow did not run out of water.
posted by psoas at 10:51 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wife and I walked down to the beach tonight on the west coast, and we were really very chilly.

I am sorry, so sorry.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:55 PM on July 7, 2012


The new term is "global weirding."

Love from Bowen Island BC Canada where it was sunny and 75 today with a nice light breeze off the sea..
posted by salishsea at 11:14 PM on July 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here in Iowa, the local airport weather station reported a high of 104F yesterday, but Wunderground lists a personal weather station that I think is more accurate, it recorded 107.5F. That is the hottest temperature I have ever experienced, even when driving through the deserts of the Southwest.

This has been the damndest year for weather ever. This year I planted my deck garden in the first week of April, I probably could have planted 2 weeks earlier but nobody had seedlings for sale. None of the nurseries planned for this early a spring. Usually I can't plant before early May and even then there's a risk of a frost. I thought I'd be a month ahead of schedule. My bell pepper plants are rated to mature in 80 days. They should be over 3 feet tall and loaded with mature peppers. But they're still only 6 to 8 inches tall. They're like little bonsai pepper plants, loaded with tiny little flower buds.

There's an old Iowa saying about how tall the corn is supposed to have grown by now, "knee high by the 4th of July." That seems typical for my pepper plants too. But this year, they're barely ankle high.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:21 PM on July 7, 2012


Toronto has broke 40 several days in June, and has been over 30 for a few days in July. Because of the lake (and i think this is Chicago too), any rain that we have had just makes tings more humid. Even at 2 40, it hasn't really cooled off. The winter was also quite mild, and very little, if any snow.

I am worried.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:45 PM on July 7, 2012


T.D. Strange: "Planes melting into the runway in DC"

Holy crow.

We're finally warming up a bit here on the Wet Coast after a cool, wet Spring. I won't be feeling guilty for much longer as we're hitting 90-ish degrees for the next few days.
posted by deborah at 12:06 AM on July 8, 2012


Love from Bowen Island BC Canada where it was sunny and 75 today with a nice light breeze off the sea.

Our house went out to the beach today. I don't think it went over 75F just on the sand by the water. Not too cold, not too hot (though the water was fucking FREEZING).

Funnily enough, thanks to the mild mild heat, we all got lazy putting on sunscreen. I'm hotter right now than I was ten hours ago. Damn it.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:35 AM on July 8, 2012


Our house went out to the beach today.

WHEN THE BUILDINGS ARE MOVING OFF TO COOLER CLIMES, IT'S TOO FUCKING HOT!
posted by hippybear at 12:45 AM on July 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


It got up to 100 here in Ann Arbor today. The wunderground app told me it felt like 112, although I've never been in 112, so I have no idea.

All I know is this: I strained a muscle in my neck a few days ago, and have been using a heating pad to soothe it. Today, instead, I took a walk outside.
posted by nat at 1:50 AM on July 8, 2012


Wind storm knocked the trees all down
Took out power to the whole darn town
So we fired it up to keep the refrigerator c-c-cold
‘Cause it may be a week before the outage’s controlled

This is my generator
This is my generator, baby

Power was out for six whole d-d-days (Talkin' 'bout my generator)
While the heat rose up to a hundred in the sh-sh-ade (Talkin' 'bout my generator)
And when we tried to run the air-air-air conditioner (Talkin' 'bout my generator)
It drew too much power for my g-g-g-generator (Talkin' 'bout my generator)

This is my generator
This is my generator, baby

(Mercifully, our house is well-shaded and we were able to run the whole-house fan off the generator at night, so it only got up to about 88-90 on the main floor in the afternoon, and stayed a humid but livable 80 or so in the basement).
posted by drlith at 4:55 AM on July 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Fwiw, the people I know who doubt climate change don't disagree that the earth is getting warmer. What they deny is that it's caused by humans and that we have any control over the situation.
posted by crunchland at 5:04 AM on July 8, 2012


I too ventured into downtown Chicago on Thursday, arriving around 5pm and leaving at 11pm. I carried 3 water bottles and had plenty to drink throughout the evening. I slept about 24 out of the next 36 hours but I think I've recovered now. Remind me not to do that again.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:04 AM on July 8, 2012


SW Ontario. No rain where we are for over a week, no significant rain for three. And before then one torrential day that drainded away rather than sink in. Constant burning sun. Highs around 28-35 constantly. Humid at night but never enough to dew.

The crops that surround us are starting to wilt. The farmers are already pumping the catch basins for irrigation and they are running dry. And it's early July. Only some of the corn has tasseled. The first crops of hay are either early harvested, or brown.

The trees are sad. The lawns are dying. We'll water the new baby tree to establish it. We're trying to get clover started instead of grass in the front.

Rubber from four season truck tires melts into gloppy strips on the roads at stop signs.

Wind from the NW last night dropped temps 5 degrees, but no rain predicted for a week. And it will just heat up again.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:17 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fwiw, the people I know who doubt climate change don't disagree that the earth is getting warmer. What they deny is that it's caused by humans and that we have any control over the situation.

SUNFLAERS
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:18 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was thunder just now, and its blessed promise of rain. I stopped checking the temperature yesterday when I saw 101 degrees; what was the point? The raspberry patch is lagging, stumpy compared to other years, and is crisping around the edges. The grass? So dry that we have to move the turkey tractors twice a day so the birds can get fresh grass. Perversely, the bell peppers love this weather and have been producing like mad. I haul five-gallon buckets of rainwater for everything else, afraid to tap too deeply into my well water, and the level on the 250-gallon containers just drop and drops and drops. At this time last year, I put off harvesting garlic because it hadn't died back enough, but this year I'm a couple of weeks late, it seems, and it's all so brown and dry. Yesterday was so hot that we turned on a sprinkler for the pigs, and they ran in and out of the spray, like little kids.

Rain! It's raining! In sort of a half-hearted way, but thank God for any at all. Think I'll keep all the windows open to encourage it.

Hang in there, folks. Drink lots of water, wear your sunblock and hats, and stay as cool as you can.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:21 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was talking about this weather with the missus yesterday, and I noted that I believe I've experienced more 100+ days so far this summer, than I had over the course of the rest of my life. And it's not even August yet, when the real heat (and humidity!!!) usually sets-in.

We didn't get any of the storms last night. They must have petered out by the time they got to Indiana. Sure could use some rain.

Humor moment: Driving yesterday, I noticed someone had put a hand-made sign on a phone pole..."It's global warming. Duh." Not a sentiment you'd expect to see publicly displayed in this corner of a very red state.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:24 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm living in the Virginia Beach area at the moment. It's mostly just been in the upper 90's but horribly muggy with the swamp-like habitats around here.
I've been taking walks at night and in the early morning, which is still too hot for most people to be out and therefore, interestingly, making it extremely relaxing to walk around. I hardly even see any joggers out.

On the other hand, if I have to go out during the day for just 10 minutes, there are parts of my body that sweat so profusely, it's as if I've been running for an hour. Like my knee pits - they drip. My damn chin sweats now when I couldn't even get my forehead to sweat after doing cardio for 45 minutes in the gym this past winter. I've never had the backs of my hands sweat before either, or my elbow pits, or my individual fingers.
The effect is that I feel like an unearthed slimy worm. And that every little bit of lint, hair, or fabric fluff sticks to my skin. I take pictures of moths on my night walks, and a little one decided to land on me, pressing its wings against "the wall" it thought it discovered. I had to peel the poor thing off of me and it died.
posted by DisreputableDog at 5:49 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, that link that desjardins provided above is just priceless.

"Global warming is still a hoax. Proof is the fact that we had a very cold winter two years ago and a mild summer. The earth isn't doing anything it has done before."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:54 AM on July 8, 2012


I bought a ton of liquor because people almost drank me out of house and home at this party last year, and NOBODY DRANK because it was too damn hot.

You must have very different friends than I do. I was at two outdoor parties over the holiday weekend and the heat didn't seem to slow down anyone's drinking.
posted by octothorpe at 6:12 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]



I love hot weather. This recent heat wave has been a godsend to me.

My favorite is road buckling.

Also, we know global warming is fake because it snowed in D.C. a couple of Februaries ago, and I mean, Snow! In February! Come on!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:23 AM on July 8, 2012


Drink lots of water and avoid strenuous unnecessary outdoor labor between 10AM and 3PM.
posted by Renoroc at 6:56 AM on July 8, 2012


In Dallas, this summer has been easy. We have had a few days over a hundred, but NOTHING like last summer. We almost beat the 1980 record (42 days) of consecutive temperatures over 100F, but a stray rain cloud only let it get to 98 one day, breaking the streak....and we went right back to over 100 F the next day. We did break the most days over 100 F (70 days) beating the 1980 record (69 days).

This summer feels downright normal in Tejas.
posted by Benway at 6:58 AM on July 8, 2012


I planted herbs on my nyc rooftop- all but the sage is a shrivelled husk at this point. Just can't give them enough water.

The bees are doing well though- so many flowers so early this year...

We didn't have a/c until the 4th, and one night I literally just took a cold shower and got in bed still dripping wet, with two fans pointed at me.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:04 AM on July 8, 2012


NYC here, and training for my second marathon. Yesterday, on my 10 miler, I ran through the sprinklers on the Central Park lawns, even though the sign said not to.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:04 AM on July 8, 2012


Blizzards are evidence of global warming. More severe winter storms are predicted by the theory; since it's generally hotter, the air is more moist, so when it does drop below freezing the storms are more intense.

The misreporting of this drives me nuts every winter. We associate snow with cold, but that's not the sole factor that causes big storms.
posted by gerryblog at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2012


SUV goes airborne from heat buckled highway in Wisconsin
posted by desjardins at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The bees are doing well though

CBC's As It Happens interviews Anthony Planakis, NYPD's "Bee Specialist", about how this year has been the busiest (buzziest?) he's ever seen.
posted by hippybear at 8:20 AM on July 8, 2012


"Caution. It is vitally important not to make connections."

(It's been linked before, but it's my favorite response to "Climate is not weather, so you can't draw conclusions from discrete events!").
posted by ChuraChura at 8:25 AM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


i thought it was generally understood that climate change meant not simply everything gets hotter but rather that weather gets more unpredictable, it's a delicate system and small changes in one direction or another here result in weird changes in various directions there. or not?

There is a notable contingent of the population who generally tries to avoid understanding these things.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:25 AM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Never mind that there's been a well-funded campaign to reassure them that "everything's fine, nothing to worry about!" You can't go wrong supporting peoples' desire for the status quo to continue...
posted by sneebler at 8:36 AM on July 8, 2012


The thing with extreme heat events and death is that they don't necessarily happen simultaneously. There is a slight lag and then you see an uptick in deaths related to heat stress. There is the strict classification of heat stress as cause of death, which if I remember require the temperature of the room to have been recorded or something like that. And then there are all of the people with compromised health to begin with who die after withstanding a number of days of extreme heat. Some argue the best way to assess heat related mortality is to count the deaths above what would be expected for that time minus the heat.

Then there is the urban heat island effect that worsens things by being hotter from all of the pavement and basically not cooling down at night. So if you're broke and can't afford a/c, your body has even less of a chance to recover at night. And maybe you live in a shitty neighborhood and are afraid to open windows. And maybe you run the fans which basically turns your apartment into a convection oven at that temperature.

If you're into understanding the sociological aspects of heatwave and mortality, the book Heatwave is great. Depressing, but great. It is a social autopsy of the 1995 heatwave in Chicago.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:25 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm always a little gobsmacked by climate change deniers, considering the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate change that's out there. But I thought I'd google some of the actual claims they're making and what science (if any) they are using to back themselves up. I came across this page "debunking" global warming "myths" put out the the Association of British Drivers of all people. No links to actual studies to back up their claims, which are basically them saying "no this isn't true", but an interesting read nonetheless.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:02 AM on July 8, 2012


There are things I miss about living in DC, but this kind of weather isn't among them. Of course, after more than a decade in San Francisco, I've turned into a total weather wuss - below 60 is cold, above 75 is too hot. Pathetic, really.
posted by rtha at 10:28 AM on July 8, 2012


The weird thing to me, living in New York but being from the Deep South, is the difference between heat that means "yay, it's pleasant to be outside!" and heat that completely shuts down outdoor activity.

Growing up, you Did Not Go Outside between about 10am and 4pm in the summertime. Or if you did, it was only to go swimming. The goal of which was to be in the water, not to sort of lounge about in the general vicinity of it, enjoying the act of being outdoors.

In New York for each of the twelve summers that I've lived here, summer doesn't mean "holy shit stay inside", it means sitting at a sidewalk cafe or in the bar's backyard. It means leisurely browsing for produce and wildflowers at the greenmarket. It means spending the afternoon in the park or at beaches that are really glorified amusement park and people watching experiences. It means soaking up some sun and sitting under a fan and maybe getting a little sticky but it's nothing a cold beer won't cure.

This summer? This summer New York is having a Stay The Fuck Inside summer. Which makes me incredibly sad.
posted by Sara C. at 10:35 AM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


triggerfinger writes "I'm always a little gobsmacked by climate change deniers, considering the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate change that's out there. "

Many people are actively anti-science if it doesn't fit into their world view. All you have to do is look at how many people don't believe in evolution. Over a century of confirmation data and research in favour of evolution and against creationism yet creationism not only persists but is the subject of debate. Bizarrely there is a heavy overlap in people who don't believe in evolution and racists.
posted by Mitheral at 10:51 AM on July 8, 2012


Bill Nye - Could climate change be wildfire cause?
posted by homunculus at 10:56 AM on July 8, 2012


My fiancee and I moved from the Southeast to Pittsburgh this last week. One of the reasons we left the Southeast is because we both like having 4 seasons and cooler weather. I particularly would much rather deal with a harsh winter than a brutal summer.

So, we packed up all our stuff in 105+ degree heat in the South, and moved to Pittsburgh last week. Where there have also been record highs. Yesterday was well above 100 with heat index. Did I mention our new apartment has no AC? "It hardly ever gets hot enough to really need it", we said.

FOOLISH MORTALS

We are getting a window unit on Tuesday. Of course now we've lived through the worst of it.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:57 AM on July 8, 2012


Bizarrely there is a heavy overlap in people who don't believe in evolution and racists.

I know, it is totally bizzare: racism can be extremely scientific.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:05 AM on July 8, 2012


i read your comment so wrong that now i look like a racist

i am not a racist

it was a trap
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:06 AM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


72 Percent of the US Is Experiencing Dry or Drought Conditions
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


New Record Low Snow and Ice in Arctic
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on July 8, 2012


"Our state-by-state analysis of warming over the past 100 years shows where it warmed the most and where it warmed the least. We found that no matter how much or how little a given state warmed over that 100-year period, the pace of warming in all regions accelerated dramatically starting in the 1970s, coinciding with the time when the effect of greenhouse gases began to overwhelm the other natural and human influences on climate at the global and continental scales."

It's a very neat map that breaks out each state's warming trends; you can switch between data that shows 1912-2011, and 1970-2011.
posted by rtha at 11:09 AM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Many people are actively anti-science if it doesn't fit into their world view.

This is what I don't understand. It's like saying gravity doesn't exist because it doesn't fit your worldview. Or like saying flying pink unicorns exist because I want them to exist. You can't just make the world be what you want it to be, though I know many people would like to.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:18 AM on July 8, 2012


Anecdote: I've been working at a client site in downtown Toronto for a few days and have been cycling there and back because it's an insultingly easy route (pretty flat, only 10 km each way) and I'd be embarrassed if I skipped out just because it was hot.

Friday was pretty intense here -- the equivalent of 122F with the humidity factored in -- and I expected the ride home to be brutal. But when I left ca. 6 PM, Richmond Street was both shaded and almost clear of traffic, so I was able to cruise easily at 30-35 km, and actually felt pretty refreshed from the breeze that generated. Then I made the rookie error of turning onto Spadina during a Friday rush hour, where once I stopped moving and was surrounded by cars, I felt like a Who slipped into an EZ Bake Oven.

I found a bunch of clear roads most of the way home, and again felt pretty comfortable moving, but once I staggered into the house and put myself into a tepid shower, I found that even 15 minutes under the cool water wasn't enough to dissipate the excess heat stored in my body. I finally flung myself on the bed without drying off and turned on the fan, but it was another 30 minutes until I felt normal.
posted by maudlin at 12:20 PM on July 8, 2012


New York. I was able to weather things pretty okay the past couple weeks - I even spent mot of the 4th outside. But this weekend kind of slew me - I went out in the morning to get some food, and was already dripping at about 11. The roommate was gone to Cape May. I figured I'd rest a bit, maybe go out later that night...

Nope. The accumulated effects of the AC have given me some kind of weird sinus issue, and I have spent the past 36 hours shut up like an invalid, secretly glad that I can use "I'm sick" as an excuse for not going out into.....that.

Had to sleep in the living room on the foldout bed last night because it was directly under the AC and my own AC-less room was too fucking hot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:43 PM on July 8, 2012


I felt like a Who slipped into an EZ Bake Oven.

See Me, Hear Me, Bake Me, Eat Me
posted by hippybear at 1:01 PM on July 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Like Octothorpe and Nakedmolerats, I live in Pittsburgh. Telling you that you don't need AC here is like telling you to go find the jar of elbow grease. Welcome to the area!

My daughter was born January 5th. All through the pregnancy we'd worried about being blizzarded in, but when we left for the hospital at 2AM, we didn't even need coats. Two days later, when we left the hospital, it was more than 60 degrees and sunny.

When the baby was three weeks old in early February, I strapped her to my chest and took a walk around the block. That's how I learned that babies sweat - big wet patch on my shirt where her head was melting. My elderly neighbor chewed me out for not having a hat, which confused me. Every flowering bush and shrub was blooming, all out of phase - the forsythia should come first and then the redbuds and then the magnolias, but they were all blooming at once.

My plum tree bloomed and I didn't see a single bee on it. Two days later, it snowed and killed everything. I still don't know if I'm going to get plums on it. Every single nectarine and peach I've had this year has had a split pit, which is probably because of that freak bloom. The eyes of the farmers at the farmer's market are scared.

My cut flower garden all came and went so fast that the only thing still going, in midsummer, are the day lillies. Several of the perennials only sent up one or two volunteers. That's it, I get one bachelor's button this year. One sweet william. Not much for floral arrangements. I got a handful of daisies.

I deliberately designed all my plantings to be low maintenance - no watering, minimal pruning and weeding, little or no fertilizer. I can leave town for a month and come back to a few weeds. But this year? I don't want to go out in my yard because it's so upsetting. I have never seen plant damage like what's out there now. It's as if my entire garden got moved three zones south.

Sure, the grass is dead. The red day lilies that look like melted wax flowers. The hostas look like a mummy touched them all over. The daisies look like someone's been reflecting magnifying glasses on the leaves, burning spots. The blueberry bushes are dead. My dahlias, that should be big and robust by now? Of the 36 plants I put in, 35 have died. The plants that aren't dead are dying, with brown spots and crispy edges everywhere. It's not because of lack of water (we're still getting enough of that) but because of heat. The native bushes are all either dead or have burned leaves. Even the weeds are dying, which is a benefit since it's been too hot for me to go out and weed, even in the evening. My garden is literally frying under the sun.

There are more ants and flying insects than I've ever seen before, even when I was a child living in a valley in the woods next to a stagnant creek. What's really bad are the spiders. I'm seeing species of spiders I have never seen before and they're colonizing places they have to know will never see an insect. There was one I saw in the garage the other day, it had made a rectangular box nest. I'm hoping that none of them are poisonous or bite the baby because what else can I do? They're coming into the living space of the house, too, which is new.

The sad thing is, living in Pittsburgh, I think we're not getting the worst of it. In Indiana, the hundred and two hundred year old sycamores are dying. The state tree, the tulip tree is dying. As others have said here, the corn is dying. The warnings are to be indoors by 9AM. My family can't all the farm tasks done by 9AM. It was 105F in the chicken coop last week.

I have no conclusion. This is just scary. This isn't just one event, this is a part of a pattern that's been going back years, amplifying every year.
posted by arabelladragon at 1:23 PM on July 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


http://ifglobalwarmingisrealthenwhyisitcold.blogspot.com/

http://ifglobalwarmingisrealthenwhyisithot.blogspot.com/
posted by Evilspork at 1:54 PM on July 8, 2012


Call me when you get 80+ days of triple digit temps in a single season. -Austin, TX
posted by nushustu at 8:46 PM on July 8, 2012


It is 76 degrees out at almost 1 AM here in Virginia. This is actually one of the coolest nights we've had this summer, although the humidity is so damn high it is ridiculous.

This is my first year planting a bunch of stuff into pots. My flowers are dead, most of my herbs are, as well, no matter what I do they are drying out. My tomato plants are still growing, but not flowering. The only thing doing well are my pepper plants. It is disheartening.

When my thermometer said 106 the other day, I was done. I mean, come on, 106 with extremely high humidity, and no breeze, makes it feel like 130 or more. We haven't even had any rain to speak of, about a 2 minute drizzle tonight, while 30 minutes from here, they had 3/4s of an inch in about 15 minutes, but also a tornado to go with it.
posted by SuzySmith at 9:59 PM on July 8, 2012


...There wasn't any real change, it was just a heat spell,
A rain spell, a funny summer, a weather-man's joke,
In spite of the geraniums three feet high
In the tin-can gardens of Hester and Desbrosses.
New York was New York. It couldn't turn inside out.
When they got the news from Woods Hole about the Gulf Stream,
The Times ran a adequate story.
But nobody reads those stories but science-cranks...
Stephen Vincent Benét, Metropolitan Nightmare, 1933
posted by nonane at 1:19 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


On Thursday afternoon, I was out all day with errands for the weekend, including picking up a friend from the bus station. On the way home, it got SUPER DARK, and I thought for sure we were going to get a much needed storm. We got about 10 minutes of barely sprinkling, so we went back out to finish errands. A bit later, my aunt sent me a text asking if I was OK after the storm. "Er, what storm? I've been outside all day long, I sure WISH it would storm!" She called me and explained that her neighborhood near Westgate had no power, trees had been flung all cattywampus, and it had rained like hell. We later learned a fella a little further out had been killed when a tree fell on him. My aunt lives about 3 miles from me. Amazing how my whole end of town was missed entirely.

I was so grateful to finally get a little bit of actual rain on Saturday. Not a lot, maybe 15 minutes of light rain, just enough to drop the temperature a little bit. I had guests all weekend, and we really wanted to be able to enjoy the back yard! (And not burn my house down with Saturday's fireworks.) Currently, the sky is black again, and it's a bit breezy, but I suspect that Temperance will get all the rain, while we're still parched down here in North Toledo.
posted by MissySedai at 1:44 PM on July 9, 2012


nushustu - We had 65 days of 100+ last year, my air conditioner broke, and it took a week to get the part to fix it. Is that close enough?

(I would expect crazy hot in Texas. Not so much here in Northwestern Ohio, except for a couple weeks in August, when Ma Nature is apparently pissed about something.)
posted by MissySedai at 1:46 PM on July 9, 2012


the new normal-- extreme variation
posted by ohshenandoah at 2:21 PM on July 9, 2012


Call me when you get 80+ days of triple digit temps in a single season. -Austin, TX

So? Death Valley has had up to 154 consecutive 100+ days, so nearly twice as many as Austin.

The point is not that there are some places that routinely have long heatwaves. The point is that literally thousands of places that have never had comparable heatwaves before are all having them right now -- and, moreover, that these heatwaves are causing natural and agricultural disasters that have far-reaching economic and social consequences.
posted by scody at 3:43 PM on July 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


nushustu: "Call me when you get 80+ days of triple digit temps in a single season. -Austin, TX"

That's one reason that I don't live in Texas. Please keep your 100+ degree days down there.
posted by octothorpe at 4:28 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


We’re Already Topping Dust Bowl Temperatures — Imagine What’ll Happen If We Fail To Stop 10°F Warming
posted by homunculus at 10:37 AM on July 10, 2012


I took this photo yesterday.

That's what much of the SW Ontario corn crop looks like now.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:41 AM on July 10, 2012


If the corn crop this year is a disaster and we have a huge corn-based diet, what happens to the price of basic foodstuffs? I mean, I get that buying a bunch of corn for the August family BBQ is going to cost more but isn't so much of our American diet based on corn (and we subsidize it heavily, right?)? So does a one-year crop disaster affect food prices very quickly across the board?
posted by marylynn at 10:55 AM on July 10, 2012


"If the corn crop this year is a disaster and we have a huge corn-based diet, what happens to the price of basic foodstuffs?"

You won't see too much variation in the price of things like Coca-Cola (sweetened with HFCS) because of federal subsidies, commodities hedging by large corporations, etc.

You will see some change in meat prices because so much animal feed is corn-based, but these tend to be somewhat self-correcting because people buy less meat (beef, chicken, pork) when the prices go up, and producers have some control over when they slaughter.

You will probably see some spike in milk and other dairy, because the feed prices go up but you have to keep feeding the milk animals and demand for milk is fairly inelastic (because families with young children buy the same amount of milk even if they buy less meat or less fruit or whatever).

Mexico, however, will probably see much larger spikes than the U.S. does, for a variety of reasons that make Mexican food prices more sensitive to commodities price changes, and because they eat more cornmeal (not just corn-as-animal-feed, corn-as-vegetable, and corn-as-sweetener).

Last time corn had a bad year (and ethanol subsidies were grinding up U.S. corn supplies and keeping prices even higher; and commodities speculators were manipulating the price further), there were food demonstrations in Mexico while in the U.S., just some grumbling here and there about milk being more expensive than usual. Food prices doubled or even tripled in Mexico, where they went up maybe 20% or 30% on very corn-reliant foodstuffs in the U.S. Mexicans also spend 1/4 to 1/3 of their income on food, while Americans spend something like 10%, so a rise in prices hits a Mexican family much harder.

Which I guess is to say, poor countries will probably be rioting in the street for food before U.S. food prices rise enough to start creating enough economic pain to attract political notice. So ... you'll have plenty of notice, I guess, before it gets bad in the U.S.

Assuming it works more or less like last time. Agriculture is a really complicated and interconnected market that's constantly responding to unpredictable events (weather) around the entire world. Pure rules of supply and demand don't apply to agriculture, because while demand is relatively predictable (people gotta eat about the same amount, we know at what rate cows convert corn calories into beef calories, people's food purchases change in fairly predictable ways in response to price pressure, etc.), supply isn't, because Mother Nature never gets the memo to send this amount of rain to this part of that country during this month. Part of the most recent spike in corn prices had to do with high Chinese demand for American soybeans as China had a soy crop failure, so soy prices were unusually high, so American farmers pulled acres out of corn production and put them into soy, so corn prices rose because corn supplies fell ...
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:21 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which I guess is to say, poor countries will probably be rioting in the street for food before U.S. food prices rise enough to start creating enough economic pain to attract political notice.

George Will to poor people: "Food's expensive. Get over it."
posted by scody at 11:55 AM on July 10, 2012


Rightwing US thinktank uses FoI laws to pursue climate scientists: American Tradition Institute seeks the release of emails with journalists to find details that could be used to discredit science
posted by homunculus at 12:08 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weirdly, I deal with some local ag issues, and I literally just one minute ago got an e-mail for local livestock producers dealing with corn prices and drought, that there will be a program with state ag experts, where topics will include: "Feed prices, nitrite management, early weaning of beef calves, water requirements/water quality, using co-products as forage replacement, and pasture management in drought." So there's some of the concerns of meat and milk producers!

(We have a few feedlot hog farms around here, but all the cows are open-pasture, and most of the hog, chicken, and dairy concerns are pretty small producers using relatively traditional methods, not feedlot. This is corn country, not livestock country, so the money in livestock is mostly in organic production for higher-margin boutique sales.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:09 PM on July 10, 2012


Global Warming's Terrifying New Math:
If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven't convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the "largest temperature departure from average of any season on record." The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet's history.
But hey, summer's just naturally hot, right? And how bad can it be if it's raining in Mecca?
posted by scody at 4:03 PM on July 19, 2012


Ideology clouds how we perceive the temperatures

Link to the abstract
posted by rtha at 11:01 AM on July 20, 2012


Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

New thread.
posted by homunculus at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2012


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