Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"Yesterday, it was so hot that..."

California is in the 12th straight day of record heat, with the death count at an estimated 41-50 people, and countless animals including thousands of dairy cows (get ready for a spike in the price of milk).

The weather forecast originally called for a cooling trend to start on Monday, then Wednesday, now they're saying maybe today. Maybe.

We have no air conditioning, and I work at home several days a week. Not so this week. With outside temperatures breaking 100 (even up here in the tree covered mountainside), the temperature at my desk is more like a sauna. Yesterday, I packed up the laptop and went to work at the cafe inside of the Border's book store. Leslie can with me and read all day.

We were not the only ones to seek such refuge, as competition for the "better" seats was fierce. We returned to Border's after dinner and found many of the same people we had seen much earlier in the day.

Some statistics:
* "State officials said it was the worst heat wave to hit Northern and Southern California simultaneously in 57 years." (
* The first six months of 2006 were the warmest of any year in the United States since record keeping began in 1895. (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center)
* Globally, January-June was the sixth warmest first half of a year on record, about 0.90 degrees above normal. (ibid)
* Between 1901 and 2000, the average daytime temperature in Southern California has gone up by three degrees. But nighttime averages have risen by seven degrees. (

The reason for that last little bit of information is development. All the stuff we build in urban areas traps the day's heat and doesn't allow for the natural cooling of the earth's crust.

So, are all these statistics and heat waves the result of human actions (or inaction)? Is it just a coincidence, or is it the climate change we've warned about? Scientists are "divided." Taken individually, each heat incident could have many natural causes. Taken as a group and a trend, ... well, you reach your own conclusions.

And now, with apologies to the late Johnny Carson, "It was really hot yesterday." - "How hot was it?"

"It was so hot that I saw a dog chasing a cat... and both were walking."
"It was so hot that Michael Jackson went out for ice cream by himself."
"It was so hot that a flock of birds burst into flames from spontaneous combustion."
"It was so hot that two dogs pretended to have sex just so they could be hosed down."
"It was so hot that I noticed a bum's whiskey was refluxing as he sat on the street drinking."
"It was so hot that birds were using oven mitts to pull worms out of the ground."
"It was so hot that if you ordered at Burger King, they said 'if you want it your way, make it yourself.'"
"It was so hot that chickens were laying hard-boiled eggs."
"It was so hot that my grand slam breakfast at Denny's was still warm when it was delivered to the table."
"It was so hot that cows were producing evaporated milk."
"It was so hot we were going to fry eggs on the sidewalk... but couldn't because the sidewalk had melted."
"It was so hot that undiscovered Easter eggs were melting in the grass."
"It was so hot that Al Gore changed the topic of his speech yesterday from 'Global Warming and the World In Peril' to 'I'd Trade My Mother For a Glass of Iced Tea.'"

Sources: Scientists split on heat wave cause - Some think culprit is global warming, but jury is still out -- Heat wave not ready to ease up on state - Weather death toll rises to 41 - forecast cooldown didn't kick in -- How Hot Is It? And Why? --High Nighttime Temperatures Set Records Too

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