Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's Hot. Officially Hot.

And dry. It's one for the record books:
"It's official: Texas is now in the midst of the worst one-year drought on record. ... July was the warmest month recorded since data collection began in 1895."
This good news comes from State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon of Texas A&M. I know what you're thinking. Who knew Texas even had a state climatologist? With a European-sounding hyphenated name. From Texas A&M of all places. Texas climatologist must be a cushy job. What's there to study? Texans know that the climate isn't changing. I recommend that you check if this Texas "State Climatologist" is real or if this story is something from The Onion before paying off any global-warming-is-bunk bets you might have lost to tree-hugging, environmentalist friends.

If you're wondering whether this hot weather is "normal", the answer is no. Or at least it won't be for another ten years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who keeps track of such things, just updated its dataset of "normal" weather based on actuals from 1980-2010. This summer's heat wave won't contribute to NOAA's definition of "normal" until the next update, due out in 2021. Expect "normal" to be redefined upwards then. I can't wait.

By the way, the heat is putting a strain on the state's electricity grid. The City of Richardson deserves credit for using its backup gasoline generators to power the Civic Center during peak demand this week, reducing a little demand on the grid. Every little bit helps. Turn up your thermostats, folks, during those peak demand hours of 3-7 pm. Don't worry, it won't mean you've changed your minds about global warming.

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