Monday, August 1, 2011

Welcome to Your New Climate: July Shatters DC Heat Records

Lime ice cream 7/2011 Washington, DCWhen I first moved to the DC area, one of the things I appreciated most was that the summer evenings were absolutely perfect. No need to grab a sweatshirt or a blanket before heading out to the backyard or Westover Beer Garden - DC summer evenings have been just right.

But the summer of 2011 has been different. No backyards, no beer gardens, just an endless search for the safety of air conditioning.

First, let's talk about the record-hot days. In today's Washington Post, Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow details the carnage:
Relentless and punishing, July’s heat was unrivaled in 140 years of Washington, D.C., weather record-keeping. The July temperature averaged 84.5 degrees at Reagan National Airport — Washington’s official weather station — more than a degree above July 2010 and July 1993, which previously held the mark for hottest month.

The high temperature was at least 90 on 25 occasions, the most on record.
And what about the nights? So much for just right - July nights were just plain hot:
There were seven days in July with low temperatures of 80 or higher. During the entire period from 1871 to 1930, only three such days occurred, all in 1876.
The Washington Post deserves credit for daring to speak the truth - that heat waves like this are exactly what climate scientists have predicted as a consequence of global warming fueled by man-made carbon pollution. While global temperature data for July will take time to compile, we know June was the 7th-hottest on record and 2011 has been the 11th-hottest year on record so far.

As for me, maybe I gave up on New England weather too soon. Thanks to global warming - still accelerating unabated thanks to Congress' refusal to lead at home or abroad - those perfect nights can now be found somewhere north of here.

Photo via Flickr's Tom Faulkner Photographs
Post a Comment