Vocapedia > Earth >
Weather > Heat
28 April 2007
high pressure UK
withering sun USA
warm weather UK
warm, settled weather UK
Antartica > record
warm spell USA
warm spell > December 26, 2021
sets record high December temperature of 19.4C
island community of Kodiak,
temperature at a tidal gauge
19.4C (67F) degrees on Sunday,
highest December reading ever recorded in Alaska,
scientist Rick Thoman
Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.
enjoy the weather
bask in warm weather
'barbecue weekend' UK
This year will be Britain's warmest
records began, say scientists UK
very warm, moist, humid, sticky air
too darn hot USA
Valley hits 130 degrees on July 9/10, 2021
Australia > hottest day on record > Tuesday 17 October 2019
The average maximum temperature
across the country
was 105.6 degrees Fahrenheit,
topping the previous record of 104.5 degrees,
set in January 2013.
hottest year on record
cartoons > USA > Cagle > Summer > 2013
hot weather UK
hot weather USA
hot spell UK
hotter climate USA
hottest August day in... UK
USA > heat
UK / USA
cope with the heat
record-breaking heat, heat dome UK
bake under stifling heat
USA > brutal heat
The Earth just broke
a heat increase record UK
Last year (2020) the
oceans absorbed heat
equivalent to seven
Hiroshima atomic bombs detonating each second,
24 hours a day, 365
days a year
extreme heat danger
extreme heat wave
Australia > scorching 40C heat wave UK
stand the heat
searing heat USA
heat record USA
Across the U.S. in 2012 USA
The average temperature
across the contiguous United States in 2012
was 55.3° (3.2° above normal).
This ranks as the warmest year
since records began in 1895.
≠ cool down
extreme heat USA
pollution > nitrogen dioxide
Death Valley scorches in 54.4C heat
Phew. What a scorcher
enjoy scorching weather
scorching hot USA
The degree Celsius
is a unit of
on the Celsius scale,
a temperature scale
as the centigrade
The degree Celsius
can refer to a
on the Celsius scale
or a unit to indicate
a difference or range
It is named afte
Anders Celsius (1701–1744),
similar temperature scale.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celsius - June 21, 2021
The Fahrenheit scale
is a temperature
scale based on one proposed in 1724
by the physicist
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit - June 21? 2021
Death Valley scorches in 54.4C heat
USA > hit a scorching 130 degrees Fahrenheit
71 Degrees In
Boston And Buffalo
Rewrite Record Book
USA February 24, 2017
bout of intense summer heat
temperatures above the average
broil and burn
triple-digit temperatures USA
blistering heat USA
a blistering 92 degrees
on a blistering
summer day USA
Britain's hottest July day on record
baking hot day
extreme weather events
Gulf Stream UK
extended period of dry weather
8 July 2010
Corpus of news articles
Earth > Weather > Heat
2014 Was Hottest Year on Record,
JAN. 16, 2015
The New York Times
By JUSTIN GILLIS
Last year was the hottest in earth’s recorded history, scientists
reported on Friday, underscoring scientific warnings about the risks of runaway
emissions and undermining claims by climate-change contrarians that global
warming had somehow stopped.
Extreme heat blanketed Alaska and much of the western United States last year.
Several European countries set temperature records. And the ocean surface was
unusually warm virtually everywhere except around Antarctica, the scientists
said, providing the energy that fueled damaging Pacific storms.
In the annals of climatology, 2014 now surpasses 2010 as the warmest year in a
global temperature record that stretches back to 1880. The 10 warmest years on
record have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary
warming that scientists say is a consequence of human emissions and poses
profound long-term risks to civilization and to the natural world.
Of the large inhabited land areas, only the eastern half of the United States
recorded below-average temperatures in 2014, a sort of mirror image of the
unusual heat in the West. Some experts think the stuck-in-place weather pattern
that produced those extremes in the United States is itself an indirect
consequence of the release of greenhouse gases, though that is not proven.
Several scientists said the most remarkable thing about the 2014 record was that
it occurred in a year that did not feature El Niño, a large-scale weather
pattern in which the ocean dumps an enormous amount of heat into the atmosphere.
Longstanding claims by climate-change skeptics that global warming has stopped,
seized on by politicians in Washington to justify inaction on emissions, depend
on a particular starting year: 1998, when an unusually powerful El Niño produced
the hottest year of the 20th century.
With the continued heating of the atmosphere and the surface of the ocean, 1998
is now being surpassed every four or five years, with 2014 being the first time
that has happened in a year featuring no real El Niño pattern. Gavin A. Schmidt,
head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said the next
time a strong El Niño occurs, it is likely to blow away all temperature records.
“Obviously, a single year, even if it is a record, cannot tell us much about
climate trends,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of earth system analysis at the
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “However, the fact
that the warmest years on record are 2014, 2010 and 2005 clearly indicates that
global warming has not ‘stopped in 1998,’ as some like to falsely claim.”
Such claims are unlikely to go away, though. John R. Christy, an atmospheric
scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who is known for his
skepticism about the seriousness of global warming, pointed out in an interview
that 2014 had surpassed the other record-warm years by only a few hundredths of
a degree, well within the error margin of global temperature measurements.
“Since the end of the 20th century, the temperature hasn’t done much,” Dr.
Christy said. “It’s on this kind of warmish plateau.”
NASA and the other American agency that maintains long-term temperature records,
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, issued separate data
compilations on Friday that confirmed the 2014 record. A Japanese agency had
released preliminary information in early January showing 2014 as the warmest
The last scientific group that curates the world’s temperature record, in
Britain, is scheduled to report in the coming weeks.
“Why do we keep getting so many record-warm years?” Dr. Schmidt asked in an
interview. “It’s because the planet is warming. The basic issue is the long-term
trend, and it is not going away.”
February 1985 was the last time global temperatures fell below the 20th-century
average for a given month, meaning that no one younger than 30 has ever lived
through a below-average month.
The contiguous United States set its temperature record in 2012. But, mainly
because of the unusual chill in the East last year, 2014 was only the 34th
warmest year on record for the lower 48 states.
That cold was brought into the interior of the country by a loop in a current
called the jet stream that allowed Arctic air to spill southward. But an
offsetting kink allowed unusually warm tropical air to settle over the West,
large parts of Alaska and much of the Arctic.
A few recent scientific papers say that such long-lasting kinks in the jet
stream have become more likely because global warming is rapidly melting the sea
ice in the Arctic, disturbing longstanding weather patterns. But many leading
scientists are not convinced on that point.
Whatever the underlying cause, last year’s extreme warmth in the West meant that
Alaska, Arizona, California and Nevada all set temperature records. Some parts
of California had basically no winter last year, with temperatures sometimes
running 10 or 15 degrees above normal for the season.
Those conditions exacerbated the severe drought in California, which has been
alleviated only slightly by recent rains. Some small towns have run out of
water, the sort of impact that scientists fear will become commonplace as global
warming proceeds in the coming decades.
2014 Was Hottest Year on Record, Surpassing 2010,
JAN 16, 2015
Coming Food Crisis
The New York Times
By GARY PAUL NABHAN
Ariz. — THIS summer the tiny town of Furnace Creek, Calif., may once again grace
the nation’s front pages. Situated in Death Valley, it last made news in 1913,
when it set the record for the world’s hottest recorded temperature, at 134
degrees. With the heat wave currently blanketing the Western states, and given
that the mercury there has already reached 130 degrees, the news media is awash
in speculation that Furnace Creek could soon break its own mark.
Such speculation, though, misses the real concern posed by the heat wave, which
covers an area larger than New England. The problem isn’t spiking temperatures,
but a new reality in which long stretches of triple-digit days are common —
threatening not only the lives of the millions of people who live there, but
also a cornerstone of the American food supply.
People living outside the region seldom recognize its immense contribution to
American agriculture: roughly 40 percent of the net farm income for the country
normally comes from the 17 Western states; cattle and sheep production make up a
significant part of that, as do salad greens, dry beans, onions, melons, hops,
barley, wheat and citrus fruits. The current heat wave will undeniably diminish
both the quality and quantity of these foods.
The most vulnerable crops are those that were already in flower and fruit when
temperatures surged, from apricots and barley to wheat and zucchini. Idaho
farmers have documented how their potato yields have been knocked back because
their heat-stressed plants are not developing their normal number of tubers.
Across much of the region, temperatures on the surface of food and forage crops
hit 105 degrees, at least 10 degrees higher than the threshold for most
What’s more, when food and forage crops, as well as livestock, have had to
endure temperatures 10 to 20 degrees higher than the long-term averages, they
require far more water than usual. The Western drought, which has persisted for
the last few years, has already diminished both surface water and groundwater
supplies and increased energy costs, because of all the water that has to be
pumped in from elsewhere.
If these costs are passed on to consumers, we can again expect food prices,
especially for beef and lamb, to rise, just as they did in 2012, the hottest
year in American history. So extensive was last year’s drought that more than
1,500 counties — about half of all the counties in the country — were declared
national drought disaster areas, and 90 percent of those were hit by heat waves
The answer so far has been to help affected farmers with payouts from crop
insurance plans. But while we can all sympathize with affected farmers, such
assistance is merely a temporary response to a long-term problem.
Fortunately, there are dozens of time-tested strategies that our best farmers
and ranchers have begun to use. The problem is that several agribusiness
advocacy organizations have done their best to block any federal effort to
promote them, including leaving them out of the current farm bill, or of climate
change legislation at all.
One strategy would be to promote the use of locally produced compost to increase
the moisture-holding capacity of fields, orchards and vineyards. In addition to
locking carbon in the soil, composting buffers crop roots from heat and drought
while increasing forage and food-crop yields. By simply increasing organic
matter in their fields from 1 percent to 5 percent, farmers can increase water
storage in the root zones from 33 pounds per cubic meter to 195 pounds.
And we have a great source of compostable waste: cities. Since much of the green
waste in this country is now simply generating methane emissions from landfills,
cities should be mandated to transition to green-waste sorting and composting,
which could then be distributed to nearby farms.
Second, we need to reduce the bureaucratic hurdles to using small- and
medium-scale rainwater harvesting and gray water (that is, waste water excluding
toilet water) on private lands, rather than funneling all runoff to huge, costly
and vulnerable reservoirs behind downstream dams. Both urban and rural food
production can be greatly enhanced through proven techniques of harvesting rain
and biologically filtering gray water for irrigation. However, many state and
local laws restrict what farmers can do with such water.
Moreover, the farm bill should include funds from the Strikeforce Initiative of
the Department of Agriculture to help farmers transition to forms of perennial
agriculture — initially focusing on edible tree crops and perennial grass
pastures — rather than providing more subsidies to biofuel production from
annual crops. Perennial crops not only keep 7.5 to 9.4 times more carbon in the
soil than annual crops, but their production also reduces the amount of fossil
fuels needed to till the soil every year.
We also need to address the looming seed crisis. Because of recent episodes of
drought, fire and floods, we are facing the largest shortfall in the
availability of native grass, forage legume, tree and shrub seeds in American
history. Yet current budget-cutting proposals threaten to significantly reduce
the number of federal plant material centers, which promote conservation best
If our rangelands, forests and farms are to recover from the devastating heat,
drought and wildfires of the last three years, they need to be seeded with
appropriate native forage and ground-cover species to heal from the wounds of
climatic catastrophes. To that end, the farm bill should direct more money to
the underfinanced seed collection and distribution programs.
Finally, the National Plant Germplasm System, the Department of Agriculture’s
national reserve of crop seeds, should be charged with evaluating hundreds of
thousands of seed collections for drought and heat tolerance, as well as other
climatic adaptations — and given the financing to do so. Thousands of heirloom
vegetables and heritage grains already in federal and state collections could be
rapidly screened and then used by farmers for a fraction of what it costs a
biotech firm to develop, patent and market a single “climate-friendly” crop.
Investing in climate-change adaptation will be far more cost-effective than
doling out $11.6 billion in crop insurance payments, as the government did last
year, for farmers hit with diminished yields or all-out crop failures.
Unfortunately, some agribusiness organizations fear that if they admit that
accelerating climate change is already affecting farmers, it will shackle them
with more regulations. But those organizations are hardly serving their member
farmers and ranchers if they keep them at risk of further suffering from heat
extremes and extended drought.
And no one can reasonably argue that the current system offers farmers any
long-term protection. Last year some farmers made more from insurance payments
than from selling their products, meaning we are dangerously close to
subsidizing farmers for not adapting to changing climate conditions.
It’s now up to our political and business leaders to get their heads out of the
hot sand and do something tangible to implement climate change policy and
practices before farmers, ranchers and consumers are further affected. Climate
adaptation is the game every food producer and eater must now play. A little
investment coming too late will not help us adapt in time to this new reality.
Nabhan is a research scientist
Southwest Center at the University of Arizona
and the author
of “Growing Food in a Hotter,
Drier Land: Lessons From
in Adapting to Climate
Our Coming Food Crisis,
Not Even Close:
2012 Was Hottest Ever in U.S.
January 8, 2013
The New York Times
By JUSTIN GILLIS
The numbers are in: 2012, the year of a surreal March heat wave, a severe
drought in the Corn Belt and a huge storm that caused broad devastation in the
Middle Atlantic States, turns out to have been the hottest year ever recorded in
the contiguous United States.
How hot was it? The temperature differences between years are usually measured
in fractions of a degree, but last year’s 55.3 degree average demolished the
previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit.
If that does not sound sufficiently impressive, consider that 34,008 daily high
records were set at weather stations across the country, compared with only
6,664 record lows, according to a count maintained by the Weather Channel
meteorologist Guy Walton, using federal temperature records.
That ratio, which was roughly in balance as recently as the 1970s, has been out
of whack for decades as the country has warmed, but never by as much as it was
“The heat was remarkable,” said Jake Crouch, a scientist with the National
Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., which released the official climate
compilation on Tuesday. “It was prolonged. That we beat the record by one degree
is quite a big deal.”
Scientists said that natural variability almost certainly played a role in last
year’s extreme heat and drought. But many of them expressed doubt that such a
striking new record would have been set without the backdrop of global warming
caused by the human release of greenhouse gases. And they warned that 2012 was
probably a foretaste of things to come, as continuing warming makes heat
extremes more likely.
Even so, the last year’s record for the United States is not expected to
translate into a global temperature record when figures are released in the
coming weeks. The year featured a La Niña weather pattern, which tends to cool
the global climate over all, and scientists expect it to be the world’s eighth-
or ninth-warmest year on record.
Assuming that prediction holds up, it will mean that the 10 warmest years on
record all fell within the past 15 years, a measure of how much the planet has
warmed. Nobody who is under 28 has lived through a month of global temperatures
that fell below the 20th-century average, because the last such month was
Last year’s weather in the United States began with an unusually warm winter,
with relatively little snow across much of the country, followed by a March that
was so hot that trees burst into bloom and swimming pools opened early. The soil
dried out in the March heat, helping to set the stage for a drought that peaked
during the warmest July on record.
The drought engulfed 61 percent of the nation, killed corn and soybean crops and
sent prices spiraling. It was comparable to a severe drought in the 1950s, Mr.
Crouch said, but not quite as severe as the legendary Dust Bowl drought of the
1930s, which was exacerbated by poor farming practices that allowed topsoil to
Extensive records covering the lower 48 states go back to 1895; Alaska and
Hawaii have shorter records and are generally not included in long-term climate
comparisons for that reason.
Mr. Crouch pointed out that until last year, the coldest year in the historical
record for the lower 48 states, 1917, was separated from the warmest year, 1998,
by only 4.2 degrees Fahrenheit. That is why the 2012 record, and its one degree
increase over 1998, strikes climatologists as so unusual.
“We’re taking quite a large step above what the period of record has shown for
the contiguous United States,” Mr. Crouch said.
In addition to being the nation’s warmest year, 2012 turned out to be the
second-worst on a measure called the Climate Extremes Index, surpassed only by
Experts are still counting, but so far 11 disasters in 2012 have exceeded a
threshold of $1 billion in damages, including several tornado outbreaks;
Hurricane Isaac, which hit the Gulf Coast in August, and, late in the year,
Hurricane Sandy, which caused damage likely to exceed $60 billion in nearly half
the states, primarily in the mid-Atlantic region.
Among those big disasters was one bearing a label many people had never heard
before: the derecho, a line of severe, fast-moving thunderstorms that struck
central and eastern parts of the country starting on June 29, killing more than
20 people, toppling trees and knocking out power for millions of households.
For people who escaped both the derecho and Hurricane Sandy relatively
unscathed, the year may be remembered most for the sheer breadth and
oppressiveness of the summer heat wave. By the calculations of the climatic data
center, a third of the nation’s population experienced 10 or more days of summer
temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Among the cities that set temperature records in 2012 were Nashville; Athens,
Ga.; and Cairo, Ill., all of which hit 109 degrees on June 29; Greenville, S.C.,
which hit 107 degrees on July 1; and Lamar, Colo., which hit 112 degrees on June
With the end of the growing season, coverage of the drought has waned, but the
drought itself has not. Mr. Crouch pointed out that at the beginning of January,
61 percent of the country was still in moderate to severe drought conditions. “I
foresee that it’s going to be a big story moving forward in 2013,” he said.
Not Even Close: 2012 Was Hottest Ever in U.S., NYT,
Weird Weather in a Warming World
September 7, 2010
The New York Times
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
GIVEN the weather of late, extremes seem to have become the norm.
New York City just had its hottest June-to-August stretch on record. Moscow,
suffering from a once-in-a-millennium heat wave, tallied thousands of deaths, a
toll that included hundreds of inebriated, overheated citizens who stumbled into
rivers and lakes and didn’t come out. Pakistan is reeling from flooding that
inundated close to a fifth of the country.
For decades, scientists have predicted that disastrous weather, including heat,
drought and deluges, would occur with increasing frequency in a world heated by
the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases. While some may be tempted to
label this summer’s extremes the manifestation of our climate meddling, there’s
just not a clear-cut link — yet.
Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist who investigates extreme weather for
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, calls any such impression
“subjective validation.” He and other climate scientists insist there’s still no
way to point to any particular meteorological calamity and firmly finger
human-caused global warming, despite high confidence that such warming is
already well under way.
One reason is that extreme weather, while by definition rare, is almost never
truly unprecedented. Oklahoma City and Nashville had astonishing downpours this
year, but a large area of Vermont was devastated by a 36-hour deluge in November
1927. The late-season tropical storm killed more than 80 people, including the
state’s lieutenant governor, drowned thousands of dairy cows and destroyed 1,200
A 2002 study of lake sediments in and around Vermont found that the 1927 flood
was mild compared with some in the pre-Columbian past. In fact, since the end of
the last ice age, there were four periods — each about 1,000 years long and
peaking roughly every 3,000 years — that saw a substantial number of much more
intense, scouring floods. (The researchers found hints in the mud that a fifth
such period is beginning.)
Many scientists believe that sub-Saharan Africa will be particularly vulnerable
in the coming decades to climate-related dangers like heat waves and
flash-flooding. But global warming is the murkiest of the factors increasing the
risks there. Persistent poverty, a lack of governance and high rates of
population growth have left African countries with scant capacity to manage too
much or too little water.
As in Vermont, the climate history of Africa’s tropical belt also makes it
incredibly difficult to attribute shifts in extreme weather to any one cause. A
recent study of layered sediment in a Ghanaian lake revealed that the region has
been periodically beset by centuries-long super-droughts, more potent and
prolonged than any in modern times. The most recent lasted from 1400 to 1750.
Though today’s extremes can’t be reliably attributed to the greenhouse effect,
they do give us the feel, sweat and all, of what’s to come if emissions are not
reined in. Martin Hoerling told me that by the end of the century, this summer’s
heat may be the status quo in parts of Russia, not a devastating fluke. Similar
projections exist for Washington, the American Southwest, much of India and many
With the global population cresting in the coming decades, our exposure to
extreme events will only worsen. So whatever nations decide to do about
greenhouse gas emissions, there is an urgent need to “climate proof” human
endeavors. That means building roads in Pakistan and reservoirs in Malawi that
can withstand flooding. And it means no longer encouraging construction in flood
plains, as we have been doing in areas around St. Louis that were submerged in
the great 1993 Mississippi deluge.
In the end, there are two climate threats: one created by increasing human
vulnerability to calamitous weather, the other by human actions, particularly
emissions of warming gases, that relentlessly shift the odds toward making
today’s weather extremes tomorrow’s norm. Without addressing both dangers,
there’ll be lots of regrets. But conflating them is likely to add to confusion,
not produce solutions.
Andrew C. Revkin,
a former environment reporter for The Times,
writes the blog
Dot Earth for nytimes.com.
Weird Weather in a
Warming World, 7.9.2010,
It Adds Up:
This Was New York’s Hottest Summer
August 31, 2010
The New York Times
By PATRICK McGEEHAN
With one final, fitting blast of 96-degree heat on Tuesday, the summer of
2010 went down in the National Weather Service’s record books as the hottest
ever in New York City.
Hotter than the previous high of 77.3 degrees set in 1966, when more than 1,100
deaths were attributed to heat that repeatedly exceeded 100 degrees. Hotter than
2006, when a heat wave set off a blackout in northern Queens that left more than
100,000 residents without power for days.
But in this record-breaking season — defined by the Weather Service as June
through August — there was no cataclysm, no singular event that was likely to
define a three-month period when the temperature averaged 77.8 degrees. Instead,
the summer of 2010 might be more properly measured in more subtle ways.
For Sal Medina, a newsstand operator from the Bronx, it could be measured by the
number of frozen water bottles that he slipped into his pants this week to stay
For John Natuzzi, it could be all the ice cubes used during the first day of the
United States Open tennis tournament on Monday (80,000 pounds).
For lifeguards, it could be the number of total visitors to the city’s beaches
For executives at Consolidated Edison, it would surely be the number of
90-degree days the utility struggled through without any widespread disruptions
of its power network (34).
Tally it all up and the sum of the last three months is a rarely interrupted
stretch of hot days that forced New Yorkers to keep cool in ways both
traditional and creative.
Mr. Medina, 56, who lives in Pelham Bay, could barely stand to be inside his
metal-jacketed newsstand at Clinton and Delancey Streets on the Lower East Side
of Manhattan. To cool off, he devised a system using frozen pint-sized bottles
of Poland Spring water.
He would tuck three inside the waistband of his pants. A fourth he would sling
in a plastic bag whose handles he would knot just under his chin, holding the
icy cylinder against the back of his neck.
Even with that gear, Mr. Medina said he had quit early a few days this summer,
heading home at 3 p.m. on the hottest days, instead of the usual 6. The heat, he
said, “affects your whole nervous system, makes you grouchy; it makes you so you
can’t stand your customers.”
At Natuzzi Brothers Ice Company in Queens, the phones ring nonstop once the
temperature hits 90, Mr. Natuzzi said. This summer, he said, his company has
been supplying dry ice to ice-cream stores to keep their products frozen, a
request he said he rarely got last summer.
The shortage of orders during the cool early months of last summer led to
significant losses, Mr. Natuzzi said, but this summer has been a different
story. The company, whose warehouse holds 40 tons of ice, sold out its supply
during the heat wave that started on the July 4 weekend. It has been running its
delivery trucks up to 15 hours a day since then.
“It’s been quite a ride this summer,” Mr. Natuzzi said.
Exhausted as he is, it is not quite over. His company supplies ice to the
food-service operations at the United States Open, which runs for two weeks. On
the first day, the Open used about 20,000 pounds more than usual, he said. “I’ll
look back and say that this is one summer I’ll never forget,” Mr. Natuzzi said.
At Con Edison, the summer of 2010 will be memorable for what did and did not
happen. In the past three months, the utility’s customers drew more power off
its grid than during any previous three-month period, according to data compiled
by the company. But through successive heat waves, the electric distribution
system held up, with only occasional localized disruptions.
“For two days we suffered,” said Theo Trilivas, 65, a retired plumber who lost
power in his home in Astoria, Queens, in July. “No power. No cooking. No A.C. No
lights. Nothing. We had to throw out everything in the freezer.”
The growing demand for power from residential customers has been one of the
bigger surprises to Con Ed officials this summer. Of the company’s 36
distribution networks, 14 — all in residential areas — exceeded the forecast for
peak demand, said John F. Miksad, a senior vice president who oversees the
company’s electric operations. Reflecting the weak state of the economy, power
usage by commercial customers declined this summer, he said.
The increased use of air-conditioning has been one constant of life in the
metropolitan region. According to Con Ed’s estimates, 6.6 million
air-conditioners are in use in its service area, and that number is rising by at
least 170,000 a year.
Sam Sharma and his wife tried placing buckets of ice cubes on window sills and
in front of fans in their apartment on the second floor of a house in Woodside,
Queens. But eventually they broke down and did what so many other New Yorkers
have done: they bought an air-conditioner.
“We have it in the living room and only run it when it is extreme heat, and then
only for a few hours,” said Mr. Sharma, an immigrant from Nepal who works as a
parking lot attendant. “Maybe we used it 10 days this whole summer. It’s
In search of relief, some people actually sought out the city. On Monday, Sharon
Fredman, 38, a Web consultant from Tenafly, N.J., had run out of suburban
options to entertain her daughter, Margot, 8, and keep her cool at the same
time. So she drove in for the day to let Margot splash around in a sprinkler in
Tompkins Square Park. “When it’s 90 degrees,” Ms. Fredman said, “it’s equally
When New Yorkers sought to escape the heat indoors, they flocked to the beaches,
particularly Coney Island. According to the city’s parks department, total
attendance at Coney Island’s beach slightly exceeded 12.8 million people, more
than triple the total from 2009.
“There were tremendous increases at all the beaches,” said Adrian Benepe, the
parks commissioner. “The beaches were our natural air-conditioners.”
Many of those beachgoers were repeat visitors, like Stephen Fybish, who said he
went to Coney Island or neighboring Brighton Beach to swim in the ocean 11 times
this summer. He said that he found the sand to be crowded some days but that he
always had ample room to swim.
A weather historian who has kept detailed records on temperatures in the city
for many years, Mr. Fybish was already looking ahead to September and
calculating what sort of weather it would take to extend the hottest-ever
distinction. By his reckoning, the average temperature for the month has to be
higher than 71 degrees for New York to have its hottest June-through-September
period on record.
C. J. Hughes and Rebecca White contributed reporting.
It Adds Up: This Was New
York’s Hottest Summer, NYT, 31.8.2010,
Darkness and Heat
Still Cling to Baton Rouge
The New York Times
By ADAM NOSSITER
ROUGE, La. — The fearsome heat of a South Louisiana summer, unmediated by
air-conditioning, reduces the strong to a primal struggle and sends the weak to
Thousands here are enduring it this way seven days after Hurricane Gustav.
Nearly 40 percent of the city’s electrical power remains out, and the principal
utility, Entergy, says it will be the last week of September before everyone’s
electricity here in the state capital is restored.
Whole neighborhoods are sweating it out, discovering things about the natural
setting, themselves and their neighbors they did not know and in some cases did
not particularly want to know. Front doors are open, generators are humming,
downed tree limbs are piled high, and the people are dripping.
Power blackouts have been widespread in South Louisiana in the last week. More
than 200,000 of Entergy’s customers in Louisiana were still without power
Monday, down from nearly 829,000 immediately after the storm.
“It’s sort of paralyzed the economy of the state,” said Foster Campbell, a
member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
Politicians are fuming, literally and figuratively. Several are vowing
investigations and promising a closer look at warding off the failures that are,
in Louisiana, as common as the violent summer storm.
This one, however, is a marathon. And it is particularly hard to swallow now
that New Orleans, the resented city downriver, has had its power restored, and
just downright unpleasant when the thermometer reads 95 and the humidity is
right there with it.
“I’m not coping; I’m just existing,” said Marilyn O’Brien, standing outside her
son’s house in Capital Heights, a pleasant district of 1920s houses under
towering trees, many of them now fractured by the storm. Ms. O’Brien looked
haggard. The yard was covered in downed power lines and chunks of tree trunk her
son had diligently sawed. He has no power, and neither does she.
“I don’t know how the Iraqis have done it,” she said. “Your energy’s zapped, and
you’re wet. My clothes feel like another layer of skin. And I’ve not slept in a
Down the street, the power failure sent 73-year-old Verien Flaherty to the
hospital with heat exhaustion and dehydration by the second day. Her little
house, she said stoically, had become “quite hot and smelly.” By Monday, though,
her son had procured a generator, and she was sitting in the darkened living
Nearby were fleets of Entergy trucks, not working fast enough for most of the
people here. Entergy says the hurricane roared right up the path of its major
transmission lines, knocking out all 14 of them between here and New Orleans.
Some 8,000 poles went down too, all carrying above-ground wires. Giant steel
towers holding the lines were pushed to the ground like a child’s Erector set.
Alex Schott, a spokesman for Entergy, said the company was “restoring power at
record speeds.” The company’s lines suffered “a lot of damage,” Mr. Schott said,
and Baton Rouge was “where the brunt of it occurred.”
Even longtime critics of Entergy, a profit-making regional energy company that
is a monopoly or near-monopoly in many places and whose stock has steadily risen
over the last eight years, say burying the power lines may not be practical in a
place like South Louisiana, where water is rarely far from the surface.
But there could be other ways of protecting the power system from the strong
storms that regularly batter this coastal state. Senator Mary L. Landrieu,
Democrat of Louisiana, said Monday that she was working on legislation to give
the government a role in strengthening the transmission lines here, “so that
when disaster strikes, our communities will not be faced with needless and
endless power outages.”
Mr. Schott said Entergy might be interested in such strategies, “as long as
costs are recoverable” — in all likelihood, paid by the customers.
An aide to Ms. Landrieu spoke of encasing the lines in reinforced pipe, as is
done in Europe.
Mr. Campbell, the public service commissioner, said it was “totally unacceptable
for people to be out two, three weeks without electricity.” He made note of what
has become a particular irritant in light of the failures, the sky-high power
bills that are a feature of life here.
“There’s a great irony here: we have some of the poorest people in the country,
and some of the highest utility rates in the Southeastern U.S.” said Mr.
Campbell, who added that he was “not interested in giving Entergy any money for
In Capital Heights, the accent was on stoicism. “Our house is sweaty hot,” said
Kelly Nelson, a hospital physical therapist. “You go to sleep at 9 o’clock, you
wake up at 11 at night, hoping it’s time to go to work.”
Across the street, Keith Morris, an artist, was wet but smiling. “It’s O.K.,” he
said. “I’m 58 years old. I’ve lived in Louisiana and in Siberia, and it’s a hell
of a lot easier here than in Siberia.”
For others, the unwonted exposure to that basic element of Louisiana life made
them rethink a commitment that often demands so much. “I’ve lost my attachment
to something that hurts me,” Ms. O’Brien said.
“It has beaten me up, so I feel like divorcing it,” she said. “I would leave
Jeremy Alford contributed reporting.
Storm Long Past, Darkness and Heat Still Cling to Baton
Scorching Heat Blankets East Coast
The New York Times
By JOHN HOLUSHA
heat and stifling humidity gripped much of the east coast on Monday, with the
National Weather Service issuing heat advisories as temperatures were expected
to exceed 100 degrees in many areas.
The heat wave was expected to last into Tuesday and prompted officials in
Philadelphia and Connecticut to send students in public and parochial schools
home early both days and cancel evening programs, The Associated Press reported.
The heat caused power failures that interrupted some subway service in New York.
New York’s Office of Emergency Management said it would open cooling centers for
people who do not have air conditioning, and other cities were making similar
arrangements. Officials urged relatives and neighbors to check in on elderly,
housebound people, who are most in danger during hot spells.
The hot weather extended from New England down through the Middle Atlantic
states into the Carolinas.
Weather officials said heat waves are not just uncomfortable, they are
dangerous. “Heat is the number one weather-related killer,” the weather service
said. “On average, more than 1,500 people in the U.S. die each year from
That is more than the deaths attributed to tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and
lightening combined, the agency said.
In New York City, service on the F and G lines in Brooklyn was disrupted during
Monday’s rush hour because Con Ed lines that power the subway systems signals
failed. Officials of New York City Transit said generators were being sent to
the affected areas so service could be resumed.
Paul Fleuranges, a spokesman for the transit system, said the problem was
relatively minor, but critical. “We have third-rail power. That hasn’t been
affected. So we can move trains, but without signals we can’t operate safely,
which is why we have to bring in generators.”
Sunday’s high temperature in Central Park was 93 degrees, just shy of the
95-degree record for the date.
Scorching Heat Blankets East Coast, NYT, 10.6.2008,
April temperatures break all records
Will this be the summer when
Britain reaches 40°C
and the effects of climate change
are painfully brought
Published: 28 April 2007
The New York Times
By Michael McCarthy,
The possibility is growing that
Britain in 2007 may experience a summer of unheard-of high temperatures, with
the thermometer even reaching 40C, or 104F,a level never recorded in history.
The likelihood of such a "forty degree summer" is being underlined by the
tumbling over the past year of a whole series of British temperature records,
strongly suggesting that the British Isles have begun to experience a period of
rapid, not to say alarming, warming. This would be quite outside all historical
experience, but entirely consistent with predictions of climate change.
The Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, in a joint
forecast with the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, has
already suggested that 2007 will be the hottest year ever recorded globally.
Its long-term forecast for this summer in Britain is much more cautious, merely
predicting that temperatures this year will be "above average". However, the
suite of new records for the UK established in the past 12 months, culminating
in an April of unprecedented high temperatures, is pointing to something new
happening to the British climate.
The incredibly warm April days we have been experiencing are not just wonderful,
they are downright weird when seen in their seasonal context. Some of them have
been 10C hotter, or more, than they should be at this time of the year.
Average maximum temperatures at the end of April in southern England are
traditionally about 13C or 14C. This weekend in London and the South-east, the
thermometer may hit 26C or even 27C - 79F to 80F.
An air temperature of 80 in April seems to belong to fantasy land. In the
childhood of anyone aged over 40, it was a rare enough temperature in August.
Even with its end not yet here, this month is certain to be the hottest April
ever recorded. But that's just one of a cascade of British temperature records
which are now falling.
Spring 2007 (defined as March, April and May) will probably be Britain's hottest
spring. It has followed the second-warmest winter in the UK record (December,
January and February) and the warmest-ever autumn (September, October and
Before that, we had Britain's hottest-ever month (July last year), which
included the hottest-ever July day (19 July, when the temperature at Wisley,
Surrey, reached 36.5C, or 97.7F, beating a record that had lasted since 1911).
To crown it all, yesterday the Met Office announced that the past 12 months,
taken together, have been the hottest 12 months ever to have occurred in
Britain, with a provisional mean temperature of 10.4C. The previous record
(March 1997 to April 1998) was 9.7C.
This leap of nearly three-quarters of a degree is huge and should make everybody
consider whether a major shift in Britain's climate is becoming visible. To
answer Yes to that question is by no means unreasonable.
It raises the possibility that in 2007 Britain may experience for the first time
the sort of "extreme event" heatwave that supercomputer models of climate
predict will hit Britain as global warming takes hold.
A heatwave of this nature hit northern and central France in the first two weeks
of August 2003 and caused 18,000 excess deaths (part of a total of 35,000 excess
deaths in a wider area including Switzerland, northern Italy and southern
Germany). Many of the dead were old people with breathing difficulties who
collapsed when night-time temperatures never dropped below the 80s Fahrenheit.
The temperatures recorded during this episode were so far above the statistical
record that it is accepted by meteorological scientists as having been caused by
climate change - and is regarded as one of its first manifestations in Europe.
Even though Britain was not at the centre of the heatwave, the UK temperature
record was resoundingly smashed by it. On 10 August 2003, the 100F mark was
breached for the first time ever, with a reading of 38.5C, or 101.3F, at
Brogdale, near Faversham in Kent.
The previous record had been 37.1C, or 98.8F, set on 3 August 1990 at
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and thus the jump was 1.4 degrees Centigrade or 2.5
degrees Fahrenheit, an absolutely enormous leap.
Despite the astonishing April, the natural variability of the climate is such
that there is no guarantee whatsoever that the 2003 record will be broken this
summer. But the indications are pointing that way. And if 2007 summer
temperatures do go even higher, hitting the 40C/104F mark, there might well be
severe problems for the public services, not just with drought and water
shortages, but with large-scale heat exhaustion.
A side effect might well be to make it extremely hard for people who do not
accept that climate change is happening to deny the reality of a warming world.
"The effects of temperature rise are being experienced on a global scale," Dr
Debbie Hemming, a climate scientist at the Hadley Centre, said last night.
"Many of the regions that are projected to experience the largest climate
changes are already vulnerable to environmental stress from resource shortages,
rapid urbanisation, population rise and industrial development."
If you want to bet on the temperature exceeding the 100F mark this summer,
Ladbrokes will only quote odds of 3-1.
The bookies aren't stupid. And they may well be right.
* The winter of 2006-2007
was the UK's second-hottest ever
* Autumn 2006 was the hottest ever
* July 2006 was Britain's hottest ever month
* Hottest ever 12-month period:
31 April 2006 to 1 May 2007
* Previous hottest:
31 March 1997 to 1 April 1998 (9.7C
Overheating Britain: April
temperatures break all records,
- outdated link
Meanwhile, in Australia
global crisis arrives
in the back yard
Published: 28 April 2007
By Kathy Marks in Brisbane
When the timer pings, Emma
Kendall-Marsden knows that her four minutes in the shower are up. In her native
Northamptonshire she loved to linger under a powerful hot jet. But this is
Brisbane, and the water is running out.
Emma and her husband, Sam, emigrated to Australia in 2003. The lifestyle and
warm climate were the main attractions. They bought a house in a leafy Brisbane
suburb. Their spacious lawn was irrigated by 24-hour sprinklers.
The couple could not have predicted that within a few years the country would be
gripped by its most crippling drought on record. Southeast Queensland has been
one of the areas worst affected, and the Kendall-Marsdens have watched dam
levels fall to a historic low.
Now they are now living under the toughest water restrictions ever imposed in
The drought, which many scientists have linked with global warming, is regarded
as the first climate change-driven disaster to strike a developed nation.
Sam is a keen gardener, but his lawn is an expanse of shrivelled brown grass
that crunches underfoot. The soil is like concrete, and the flowerbeds are
dotted with straggly corpses. “That used to be a magnolia bush,” he says. “And
those were irises.” He and Emma used to pick lemons for their gin and tonics.
Like everything else, their lemon tree is dead.
When they first moved in, “it was green”, says Sam. “It was lush,” says Emma.
“It was beautiful,” they chorus.
Now gardens may only be watered by bucket, from 4-7pm three days a week.
Hosepipes are banned, and only car mirrors and windscreens can be washed.
Children’s paddling pools may not be filled.
Residents are being cajoled and threatened into using no more than 140 litres of
water a day each. One minute in the shower consumes up to 15 litres. A soak in
the bath can soak up 200, while a load of washing uses about 165.
In stiff upper-lipped fashion, the Kendall-Marsdens are doing their best to meet
the target. They turn off taps while brushing their teeth and soaping themselves
in the shower. They stuff the washing machine full, and have mothballed the
dishwasher. They save up dirty crockery to wash in bulk. “I couldn’t tell you
when I last had a bath,” says Sam, a solicitor.
Even their Rottweiler, Cesar, must do his bit. In the past he was given a full
bucket of water. Now he is limited to half a bucket.
Yet the couple are still using 194 litres each per day, according to Sam, who
carefully logs their consumption. “We’ve been really frugal,” he says. “I don’t
know what else we can cut back.” Emma says: “I feel guilty even turning on the
The Kendall-Marsdens are not just being good citizens. Households with excessive
water usage are required to perform an audit, and may be fined. But beyond that
lies a more compelling reason. “I’m scared we’re going to run out of water,”
That fear is well grounded. The three dams servicing the region are down to less
than 20 per cent of capacity. If next summer is as dry as the last one, Brisbane
will run out of water late next year.
By that time a $7bn (2.91bn pounds) programme aimed at “drought-proofing”
southeast Queensland is supposed to have been completed. It includes a
desalination plant on the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane, and a pipeline that
will pump recycled water to power stations. New dams are also planned.
But if construction work falls behind schedule, there will be a crisis.
“Frankly, it’s a close race,” says a source at the Queensland Water Commission.
Smaller towns in the region have already run dry, and are having to truck in
water supplies at great expense. The government is talking about evacuating
In Brisbane, deadly funnel-web spiders are invading backyards, while thirsty
kangaroos are colliding with cars in outer suburbs. In rural areas, snakes have
become a menace. “We had a 5ft red-bellied black on the verandah the other day,”
says Paul Van Vegchel, who lives on a property near Kingaroy, north-west of
Brisbane. “They’re extremely venomous.”
Mr Van Vegchel, an artist, is usually self-sufficient. “But my dam’s bone dry,
and my bore’s pumping salt water,” he said. “Me and the wife share a very skimpy
bath, then we wash our smalls in it, then we put that water in the garden pots.”
Like many locals, Mr Van Vegchel accuses the Queensland government of failing to
plan adequately for the needs of Australia’s fastest growing region. The beaches
and warm climate of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, to the
north, attract 60,000 new inhabitants a year. The current population is 2.8
“The government has sat back and had this great influx of people into the
southeast corner,” said Mr Van Vegchel. “There’s been no planning; it’s just
been welcome on board.”
While southeast Queensland is highly urbanised, it has 4,000 farmers, all of
whom are enduring hard times. John Cherry, chief executive of the Queensland
Farmers Federation, says dairy production is down by 30 per cent since 2002,
while fruit and vegetable production has halved in four years.
Across the state, about 37,000 jobs in agriculture have disappeared. “The social
impact has been devastating,” said Mr Cherry.
Linton Brimblecombe, who farms in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, is still
growing beetroot, but has abandoned his sweetcorn, green beans and broccoli.
Unless it rains, he will be out of water by September.
Mr Brimblecombe built dams during the last drought 10 years ago. “Back then the
farming community was suffering, but Brisbane wasn’t,” he said. “So the
Queensland government missed a wake-up call.”
A fourth-generation farmer, he is certain he is witnessing the effects of
climate change. “We watch the weather and temperatures intimately, because they
determine how we treat our crops,” he said. “Most definitely we’re warming up
and our rainfall is decreasing.”
New figures published yesterday suggest Australia will exceed its Kyoto target
for greenhouse gas emissions by two per cent. The government, which has refused
to ratify the Kyoto Protocol but claims to be on course to meet the target
anyway, rejected the figures.
In southeast Queensland, the situation is so dire that people are stealing
water. One Brisbane sports club had 12,000 litres siphoned from its tank. Some
sports pitches have closed because the ground is dangerously hard. Even tougher
water restrictions may be imposed by September.
Paul Greenfield, a Queensland University professor and leading water expert,
said supply would have to be rationed to certain times of day if the new
infrastructure was not completed on time.
Meanwhile, the Kendall-Marsdens’ neighbours, Scott and Jessica Hitchcock, are
even worse off than them. Their lawn is so dry that long cracks have opened up,
several inches wide in places. Mrs Hitchcock worries that one of her children
may break an ankle.
Back home, the Kendall-Marsdens pore over photographs of their once green garden
and ponder whether to return to England.
Meanwhile, in Australia a
global crisis arrives in the back yard,
climate_change/article2491768.ece - broken link
Related > Anglonautes >
Earth > resources > water > drought
wildlife > trees
> Australia, Canada, USA
agriculture / farming, gardening
climate change / crisis,
global warming / heating
time > season
time > season > winter
the homelesss > Ireland, UK
the homeless > USA