On June 11th, 2013, in the wee hours of an early summer night in Nebraska, the temperature shot from 73°F to 99°F in the space of minutes, accompanied by 50MPH winds. The cause of this weather oddity was the poorly understood Heat Burst, a phenomenon that sometimes occurs as thunderstorms die out, usually late at night. The temprature rise can be so extreme that it has been imaged from space, and there are unconfirmed stories of heat so extreme that crops were cooked in the fields where they grew, and paint blistered on houses and vehicles. Once believed to be a very rare event, with the advent of personal weather stations, science may find they are more frequent than was previously believed.
July 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental United States. 70% of Iowa - the nation's largest corn producer - is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rates 50% of the nation's corn crop as poor or very poor. Today U.S. corn prices reached an all-time high. The impact will be global. Wired looks at "Why King Corn Wasn't Ready For The Drought".
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. [more inside]
Arthur Miller describes New York summers before air-conditioning. (New Yorker Archive)
As summer arrives, a scientist writes (mostly negatively) about air conditioning