CURRENT MOON

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Summer Days, Drifting Away, But, Oh! Those Summer Nights!


Environmental News Network reports that:

America in recent years has been sweltering through three times more than its normal share of extra-hot summer nights, government weather records show. And that is a particularly dangerous trend.

During heat waves, like the one that now has a grip on much of the East, one of the major causes of heat deaths is the lack of night cooling that would normally allow a stressed body to recover, scientists say.

Some scientists say the trend is a sign of manmade global warming.

A top federal research meteorologist said he "almost fell out of my chair" when he looked over U.S. night minimum temperature records over the past 96 years and saw the skyrocketing trend of hot summer nights.

From 2001 to 2005, on average nearly 30 percent of the nation had "much above normal" average summertime minimum temperatures, according to the National Climatic Data in Asheville, N.C.

By definition, "much above normal" means low temperatures that are in the highest 10 percent on record. On any given year about 10 percent of the country should have "much above normal" summer-night lows.

Yet in both 2005 and 2003, 36 percent of the nation had much above normal summer minimums. In 2002 it was 37 percent. While the highest-ever figure was in the middle of America's brutal Dust Bowl, when 41 percent of the nation had much above normal summer-night temperatures, the rolling five-year average of 2001-05 is a record - by far.

Figures from this year's sweltering summer have not been tabulated yet, but they are expected to be just as high as recent years.

And it is not just the last five years. Each of the past eight years has been far above the normal 10 percent. During the past decade, 23 percent of the nation has had hot summer nights. During the past 15 years, that average has been 20 percent. By comparison, from 1964 to 1968 only 2 percent of the country on average had abnormally hot nights.

"This is unbelievable," said National Climatic Data Center research meteorologist Richard Heim. "Something strange has happened in the last 10 to 15 years on the minimums."


Yet, as today's WaPo noted that: OVER THE PAST two weeks, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee has held a pair of truly senseless hearings on global climate change. The purpose was not to figure out how to cut carbon emissions. It wasn't even to discuss the science of global climate change in general. Instead, the purpose was to pick at a single study of global temperature patterns, the so-called "hockey stick" graph -- a trend line that purports to show a sudden and dramatic increase in global temperatures in the 1990s and therefore looks like a hockey stick. The graph is hardly central to the modern debate over climate change. Yet the subcommittee has investigated the scientists who dared produce it and hounded them for information. Now that a study of the graph by the National Academy of Sciences has largely backed up the hockey stick findings, the committee has been holding hearings to attack it some more..

That's what happens when you vote for Republicans. That what happens when Diebold steals elections and we don't riot in the streets. That's what happens when the corporatists take over America. (And, just in case you harbor some small amount of doubt as to whether or not that's happened, go read this.)

3 comments:

Soprano said...

Do you know how that song came about? The original song in that part of the show was called "Foster Beach." "On Foster Beach, we would walk by the water/ You could see a big red heart with our names inside it/ One is yours, the other mine/ It's a summer valenti-i-ine--Yeah!" But everyone figured that nobody in New York would know what Foster Beach was, so Jim and Warren had to write a new song for that spot. (There were five new songs altogether between the original Chicago production of GREASE and the New York show that opened in February 1972.) Warren wrote most of "Summer Nights," as "Foster Beach" had been mostly his song (which you can tell from the unusual changes in it--Warren's music was usually in flat keys, and he really liked half-step progressions and diminished chords, none of which he really understood, because he couldn't read music very well and had had no training in music theory; he was just learning to play the piano when GREASE went to New York). "Summer Nights" was a better song in most respects--easier to sing, more of the period, less dependent on local geographical and cultural knowledge. Someday, I need to write all this stuff down, put it with copies of various versions of the script (I don't have the original score anymore, dagnabbit), add the posters (of which my favorite is from the Mexican production--"Julissa y Benny in VASELINA") and programs and buttons and souvenir booklets, throw in a copy of the egregriously mendacious book Ken Waissman and Maxine Fox wrote about the genesis of the show, and donate it to the Chicago Historical Society. Which would probably throw it out.
As for global warming--it's not the humidity: it's the heat.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick thank-you--your recent series of entries on the effects of global warming and what little things regular folk can do is great.

To the point, well documented.

And, again, I so appreciate your remineder recently to go around your house and turn off any unnecessary electricity using items.
jawbone

Julia said...

Thanks to you, I learned a lot of interesting things. I hope to learn more. I congratulate you for these wonderful shares. Keep going !

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