Just how hot is it in the US right now?

Mark Memmott at NPR's "The Two Way" blog digs in to statistics and maps from the National Climatic Data Center to illustrate exactly how fucking hot it is in hundreds of cities around the US, as a record-setting heatwave continues. I found the data a little confusing, so I 'shooped up a "For Dummies" version for you all, above. But do read the whole post from Mark here. (via Dave Pell's NextDraft)


    1. Shock cat improves the impact factor of these images immeasurably.

      I can only hope he does not fall into the hands of Fox News.

  1. How many years of record-breaking heat and drought will it take to convince conservatives that climate change is real, and that they must put their heads together, do some hard thinking, and come up with solutions that will be acceptable to their base . . . like blaming it on Muslims,  gay marriage, and abortion providers?

    P.S. I am awfully glad to be living in the as-yet-unaffected Pacific Northwest.

    1.  Because breaking records set in 1911 shows that climate change is a new and present danger?

      Pointing at record breaking heat doesn’t prove climate change any more than pointing at record breaking snowfall – using this a ‘proof’ doesn’t do anything but give the argument about it to the dogs – in this case using anecdotal evidence which doesn’t really prove anything at all.

      This is how ‘those conservatives’ are waging the debate.  Global warming is just that… global – and the heat hitting the US is more to blame from the back to back la nina’s – which  *might* be due to climate change but pointing at this heat and going ‘see see!’ doesn’t make that point at all and lets them go right back to ‘it was this hot in 1911 way before the carbon increase so what are you talking about?’

      Simply put if you want to use stuff like this to make the argument then you loose off the bat.  Katrina hits and everyone says ‘climate change – this is the start of monster storms from here on out’ – and nothing happens – and that just makes J.Q. Public doubt.  This summer happens and if next summer is cooler than normal… more doubt… I don’t know why people want to fall into that trap – you can never look outside and say ‘Today it’s hotter/colder”  so *that’s* gotta be climate change.

      Pointing to the ice caps melting and greenland becoming green is far more of an argument – and one that should be stuck to.

      1. Consistently breaking hundred year records for several years running is an indication of climate change, yes. 

        It’s like this: climate change predicts larger and more frequent weather events.  But if you dismiss every single weather event as “not proving climate change” you lose the big picture that it’s not just that it was ungodly hot in 1911.  It’s that we keep breaking 100 year records every couple of years now.

        If the only proof of climate change is that the weather  becomes hotter than it ever has been and stays that way, then that means we won’t acknowledge climate change until its 100 degrees in the dead of winter everywhere in the country.  Cuz probably there was a 99 degree Christmas at some point in the past millennium.

        No one car crash proves that drunk driving is reckless.  Drunk drivers can be in accidents where they did everything right.  Plenty of sober drivers are at fault in accidents.  But the much higher rates of auto accidents among drunk drivers is still significant, even though you can dismiss EVERY SINGLE drunk driving accident by citing a sober driver who did something worse.


        1. Per your point and link…

          “Extreme events
          The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been
          increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been
          decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of
          intense rainfall events.

      2.  “Because breaking records set in 1911 shows that climate change is a new and present danger”

        Except that in 1911 they didn’t break almost FOUR THOUSAND heat records in one month…

        1.  :)  Well that is awesome in any year – even when it’s freeking too hot outside.

    2. Conservatives already know that climate change is real, just look at this advertizement with Pelosi and Gingrich from seven or eight years ago ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi6n_-wB154 ). There was a great article in Harpers (i believe but i might be wrong) that said conservatives know that climate change is real and used to admit it as part of policy. Then they realized that fixing climate change would essentially require giving their political enemies everything that’s been on the liberal wish list forever like strict energy and environmental regulations, renewable energy policy, big infrastructure programs, etc . Because that would not fly, they had to go back to a strict policy of denial. 

    3. Bible Belter here.  You hit the nail on the head.  They’re all too aware that things are different now, but you hit upon what they’re blaming the change on.  My own mother-in-law, who is usually a level-headed person, blames it on gay marriage.

      I’m more of the Pascal’s Wager sort, and believe that if this is some sort of divine retribution, it’s more likely to be for the way we’ve allowed greed to set our environmental policy.  We’re supposed to take care of it, after all.  The nice thing about my theory is that it works even when it’s all natural.

      1. “My own mother-in-law, who is usually a level-headed person, blames it on gay marriage.”

        Whenever Anderson Cooper fixes me with his steely blue eyes, my global temperatures start climbing.

      2. The divine retribution idea is tautological.  The only reason to judge us for having bad environmental policy is because the environment is vulnerable to damage which will then impact life negatively.  That negative impact isn’t divine retribution, it’s the direct consequence of damaging the environment.  If the environment wasn’t vulnerable, then there’d be no divine retribution because no harm would come to it in the first place.

        Burns are not divine retribution for unwisely setting your skin on fire.  The reason its unwise to set your skin on fire is because you’ll burn.

        1. You’re losing sight of what is important here. If two people always agree on initial causes and the ending effects, but one says “causality” and the other says “God.” Then for these purposes God = causality, and the only reason to argue is dogmatism. The important thing is fixing problems in the real world, not having metaphysical arguments.

      3.  “My own mother-in-law, who is usually a level-headed person, blames it on gay marriage.”

        Really? No shittin? I just pulled a couple of way-out-there examples out of my ass*. I didn’t really expect that sort of thing to happen.

        To be utterly fair, there are religious folks who, under the banner of “creation care,” support sound environmental policies. But they’re overwhelmed by people who only see talk of environmental problems as part of a sinister plot by Nancy Pelosi to take away their pick-ups and make them eat tofu.

        * And boy, is my ass sore now!

      4. My own mother-in-law, who is usually a level-headed person, blames it on gay marriage.


  2. How hot? 

    Really, REALLY fuckin’ hot.

    Turkish steam bath- hot.

    Bonneville Salt Flats -but with sky rocketing humidity- hot.

    So hot that the comments section will soon be brimmimg with partisan politics-hot

    1. You forgot the low hanging fruit.


      I wasn’t built for this weather. Heat I can handle, humidity I can handle, but heat AND humidity? Get me the hell out. There’s so much moisture in the air clinging on to all that heat that even when it gets dark out, the temp stays above 90 degrees. There’s something fundamentally wrong about that, where I grew up, evenings were always when the relief showed up.

      1. I’d like to say “Welcome to the South”  but then you said only 90…around here it can sometimes stay above 100 degrees with 95% humidity, so it’s like you’re swimming in a river of hot water…

        1. It’s like that line in “The Abyss”, we have all breathed liquid for nine months…and those of us in the South breath it another 3 every year.

  3. Heh, heh.  Dave Barry once said Washington calls itself “The Evergreen State” because it sounds better than “The Relentless Nagging Drizzle State.”  The local weatherman suggested we change last month’s name to “Junuary”, since we were hard-pressed to break 60 degrees even once.  Cue Simpsons reference: Now who’s laughing, now who’s laughing…?

  4. Yeah, has not been a very good time outside for the whole freaking month.

    We’ll get a little break next week, maybe…

  5. So this is where all the british summer has gone.

    Would you mind swapping a few weeks of sun for a few weeks of rain?

    The only records we’re breaking is wettest June since records began after starting the year with a drought and hosepipe ban

    1. It’s 102f / 39 c here right now.  I’d be happy to trade this whole last week.

    2. I was wondering about that….

      In the South (of the US) we had a very mild winter so to speak…and it looked like most of Europe was bitterly cold.  Now I guess similar forces are at work here.

      1. We’ve had roughly that much this morning in the west of the UK. Worst. Summer. Ever.
        Extremes at either end are bad I guess.

    3.  Could this have something to do with being east of an evaporating ocean? The Pacific NW had a very rainy June on top of a cool, wet spring.

    4. I dunno. It can keep raining for a bit longer I think. What we want is a nice Indian summer after all the Olympic hullabaloo when the tourists have gone home.

  6. But but but…Al Gore has a big house and they threw out some unreliable tree ring data!

  7. This month’s short stats still has me thinking a lot of the wierd temperature is due to smoke from all the wildfires. I saw a map on Weather Underground showing smoke coverage from the fires last month, and the cloud fairly neatly covered all the areas in the Midwest and East that were seeing spikes in temperature.

    1. There’s an effect explored on PBS Nova called ‘global dimming’.  High altitude jet contrails scatter and reflect the incident light which reduce the heating.  During the aftermath of 9/11 when the flights were cancelled, the sky cover was reduced and higher temperatures were observed.  See “Dimming The Sun” at:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sun/

  8. It is hotter than two rats fucking in a wool sock here in Durham.  I left Texas to get away from this.  Will I spend my whole life moving my family farther and farther north?  2037 will find us in shorts and flip flops on Ellesmere Island saying, “it’s too damned hot!”

    1. You left Texas to get away from rats fucking in socks?  Good idea taking no socks to Ellesmere Island though!

  9. It’s hotter than a hustler’s ass on the day before the free clinic here.  Sadly, that’s still 2° below average.

  10. Ask Rando Paul… He has all the answers humans will ever need – EVER.

    Just ask him.

  11. The X PRIZE Foundation claims to be “an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.” Nothing could be more urgent than climate change. So why aren’t they sponsoring a competition, for example, to remove greenhouse gases? Visit their Web site and the involvement of Shell is prominent on the main page. The company is eager to drill in the arctic.
    Jane Goodall asked: “It’s the only planet we’ve got. Why are we destroying it?” No one seems to be doing anything to address our deteriorating climate and pollution.  I don’t understand why a dime is spent on the space program. The needs of the planet are far more urgent. Very depressing. How bad are things going to get before we take serious action.

    1. Space program actually is a solution, however.

      If successful, it provides two options:

      1. Outsource as much pollution as possible off of our planet
      2. Get off of our planet and find another one

      1. It currently costs $7,500 per pound to send something in to space.  So, we should really be hitting the treadmills, right?  

    2. The same space program whose total cost throughout history has been less than one bank bailout? The one that has given us the tools we use to study climate, and is one of the main reasons we understand it so well?

      Complaining about space is like a gambling addict complaining about paying for their child’s music lessons. There might be more important things, but they do have some positive effects, and they’re not really where the money is going. If you talk about the massive subsidies of military, business, etc. you could have a point.

  12. Here in Southeast Alaska we are having a record breaking cold and wet summer. I guess the rest of the USA is sucking the heat away.

    1. Thank you for providing the all-important denialism. If only all those professional climatologists had thought of those explanations.

      1. It’s like science.  But if you fail science, you’re doomed to repeat it.  But, if you want to get freaky, this is most likely an interstadial during an interglacial, something heliologists and climatologists haven’t quite figured out yet.  So the important question is whether an interstadial is dependent on a glacial period or do they typically go unnoticed during interglacials.  I encourage you to go check out charts and graphs.    

          1. I’m totally messing with you guys!  I’m from Zangdar in the “A1689-zD1 Galaxy” as you humans put it.  You found us recently, but trust me, we found you guys first.  We all pose as conservatives so the humans will buy more gas, cut down trees (we’re allergic), and bomb other humans (slimy and gross ((especially elbow skin (((ralph!))).  With so little time, why not go for a long drive to visit friends and relatives?  And crank up the A/C, it helps drown out those whiny liberals!  

            P.S., if you see Giorgio Tsoukalos, have him call his mother!

            P.P.S., thanks for electing the dumbest Zangdarian ever in 2000! 2004 had us completely baffled though! I guess humans will take an idiot over a stool.

        1. It’s like science.

          Like science, but distinct from it. Because scientists don’t get to just throw out words like “interstadial” or point to a badly cropped graph to make their case, they actually have to do detailed investigation and modeling to establish what’s happening.

          1. The graphs only go back 600,000 years reliably, which is a small sample area, but long enough to show a trend.  Governments love dirty, expensive energy because every facet of production, transportation  and consumption is taxed heavily.  A business never votes to get smaller, and that revolving door  between government and industry just gets larger and larger.  It’s like history, but happening now.  

      2. I’m not denying that deforestation, pollution, paving much of the land (in black!) and other human factors aren’t helping the situation.  But if you remove trees and add what is basically a grid of solar cookers across the world, you’re going to have some problems.  

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