The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Lynx

Day two of Certified Scrum Master training starts in just a few minutes (more on that later), so I've queued up a bunch of articles to read this weekend:

Training begins again...

Climate change is World War III

So says New Republic writer Bill McKibben:

We’re used to war as metaphor: the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on cancer. Usually this is just a rhetorical device, a way of saying, “We need to focus our attention and marshal our forces to fix something we don’t like.” But this is no metaphor. By most of the ways we measure wars, climate change is the real deal: Carbon and methane are seizing physical territory, sowing havoc and panic, racking up casualties, and even destabilizing governments. (Over the past few years, record-setting droughts have helped undermine the brutal strongman of Syria and fuel the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria.) It’s not that global warming is like a world war. It is a world war. Its first victims, ironically, are those who have done the least to cause the crisis. But it’s a world war aimed at us all. And if we lose, we will be as decimated and helpless as the losers in every conflict--except that this time, there will be no winners, and no end to the planetwide occupation that follows.

The question is not, are we in a world war? The question is, will we fight back? And if we do, can we actually defeat an enemy as powerful and inexorable as the laws of physics?

Meanwhile, scientists are saying that only about 30 major cities will remain cool enough to host the 2088 Olympics:

[Kirk Smith, a professor of global environmental health at University of California, Berkeley] and his colleagues looked the climate conditions of 645 cities in the Northern Hemisphere that are eligible to host the Olympics. Cities that had fewer than 600,000 in population were excluded, as were those that exceeded 1,600 meters (or roughly 5,250 feet) in elevation. They used data from two standard climate models to calculate the temperatures and humidity of those cities over the next century, assuming the levels of greenhouse gas emissions would remain high. With those numbers, they then estimated each city’s wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT), a measure of heat stress that takes into account temperature, humidity, heat radiation, and wind.

Cities are considered to be of high to medium risk if their WBGTs exceed 26 degree Celsius (or 78.8 degree Fahrenheit), which the researchers say is the maximum temperature to safely hold marathons, considered by some to be the most demanding events in the Olympics. (That’s actually a conservative measure; a 2010 study put the temperature threshold of risky marathons at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Another analysis, based on data from more than 2 million marathoners, found the ideal temperature to be as low as 40 to 50 degrees.)

London and San Francisco meet the grade. Chicago is "medium risk." No cities in South America or Africa will be "low risk" by then.

Ten minutes to the next meeting

Items of note:

Off to the meeting. More later.

Odd lake cold front interface

A high-pressure dome of hot, humid air is parked over the middle of the U.S. right now, driving temperatures up and heat indices up higher. But here in downtown Chicago, something weird happened this afternoon.

Around 1pm, a line of thunderstorms came down Lake Michigan from the north. Just before then, it was 33°C at O'Hare with a heat index close to 38°C. Then, within fifteen minutes, this happened:

Note the green lin snaking from Gary, Ind., in the southeast around to Crystal Lake, Ill., in the northwest. That's an interface between cool air coming off the lake and the hot, muggy air surrounding it. And it's still raining there; here's the radar image from 3:50:

So right now, it's 25°C in Gary, 24°C in Lansing, Ill. (near Gary), and 33°C in Joliet (near the + sign on the radar images).

Weird. And welcome, at least in the Loop. But the temperature is climbing again as the thunderstorms make their way deeper into Indiana. And tomorrow's forecast predicts more humid heat. Bleah.

Here comes the heat

Much of the central U.S. is bracing for the worst heat wave since 2013:

Temperatures [in Chicago] Thursday are expected to reach 34°C and 37°C on Friday, with humidity levels creating a heat index that feels more like 38-42°C, according to Kevin Donofrio, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The heat wave will continue through the weekend, with temperatures only a few digits lower during the day Saturday and Sunday and remaining around 25°C and even 28-29°C overnight, Donofrio said. Temperatures are expected to drop early next week.

It's already starting. I'm heading to Wrigley Field in a couple of hours, and the temperature has already hit 30°C at O'Hare with a heat index of 31.6°C.

WGN has an informative graphic explaining why this is happening.

Sure Happy It's Thursday link round-up

For a couple of odd timing reasons, this is my first full 5-day week at my new job...and it's already a 5½-day week. So I've barely enough time to jot these articles down for future reading:

Have fun. I'll catch up to these in a day or two.

Hottest weather ever recorded

May was the 13th month in a row that had record heat globally; June will likely be the 14th. In fact, the entire continental U.S. had above-average temperatures last month, which is a first:

If last month, while excreting rivulets of moisture like a ham in the oven, you found yourself thinking, This is crazy hotyou weren’t wrong. It was the warmest June in the U.S. since records began in the late 1800s, surpassing 2015’s historically scorching June and perhaps adding to the world’s never-before-recorded streak of incredible heat.

The 22.1°C average temperature for the Lower 48 was more than 2°C above the historic norm, according to NOAA. It beat out the previous record-holder of 22.0°C in 1933, and made 2016’s year-to-date temperature the third-warmest in known U.S. history.

Aside from being alarmingly hot, June also marked the month in which 31 major U.S. scientific institutions warned Congress in a consensus letter that “climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary drive.”

And here we go, whistling past the graveyard...

All kinds of PRs

Yesterday's walk had a number of consequences, including some discomfort that has persisted until today. But I also blew away my Fitbit personal records. Yesterday's results:

Which makes my top 5 now look like this:

2016 Jun 16 40,748
2016 Jun 8 32,315
2015 Apr 26 30,496
2016 Mar 8 29,775
2015 Jun 15 28,455

Yesterday's weather worked out, too. It was almost completely overcast, until I hit the heavily-wooded sections of the trail up in Glencoe and Highland Park. And it was cool; I don't think it got above 20°C. So I didn't sweat too much and I was able to keep a fairly brisk pace.

I will now limp to my lunch appointment. And I'll post Parker's birthday photo later this afternoon.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll walk there tomorrow

Yes, I'm a little obsessed with finding out how far I can walk in one day, but you won't have to read about it much longer. Tomorrow's forecast looks perfect: sunny skies, 24°C, and some good breezes to keep the air clear and me cool.

And even as I'm contemplating walking 30 km or so, I have to stop and just be awed by British marathoner Sara Hall's Fitbit data from her 2 hour 30 minute running of this year's London Marathon. Her average pace (3'35" per kilometer) is roughly three times faster than I'll go tomorrow. And given that she only took 28,914 steps to cover a marathon, her stride was a full 144 cm—just a few shorter than I am tall.

Also, don't worry about Parker. He's not coming on a five-hour walk with me. He'll be at doggy day camp.