The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

You weren't imagining the heat

The results are in for meteorologcial summer 2016, and it was, in fact, really warm and soggy in Illinois. Chicago's average temperature of 23.5°C was 1.4°C above the 1980-2010 normal. That period was the warmest in history, however, so the summer that just ended Wednesday was Chicago's 18th warmest in recorded history, putting it at the 88th percentile.

Did I mention wet? For June through August, we got 338.8 mm of precipitation, a damp 32.8 mm above normal—not a record, but still very squishy.

Oh, wait—we did hit a record after all. Illinois' statewide average 175.0 mm of precipitation in August, and 349.0 mm for July and August combined, were both the wettest such periods in recorded Illinois history.

Combine the humidity that produced all that precipitation with the above-normal heat and this past summer was uncomfortable.

September, however, has been delightful. The Tribune reports that yesterday Chicago had 100% of its possible sunshine for the first time since June 21st, and we may have an entire weekend—3 days in a row—for the first time since November 10th.

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.