The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Future heat

James Fallows highlights a new US government website that maps how bad the climate will get in your town:

Let me give just a few illustrations from the first such climate-based public map the White House has released, HEAT.gov. The main points about all this and related “digital dashboards” (like the one for Covid) and maps:

  • They are customizable. You can see your immediate neighborhood, or the entire world.
  • They are configurable. You can see the “real” weather as of 2020, and the projected weather as of many decades from now.
  • They can be combined. You can overlay a map of likely future flood zones, with areas of greatest economic and social vulnerabilities.

First, a map showing the priority list of communities most at risk from heat stress some decades from now. This is based on an overlay of likely future temperatures, with current resources and vulnerabilities, and other factors and trends.

Number one on this future vulnerability list is in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Number ten is in Arkansas. In between, at number seven, is my own home county in California. You can tune the map to your own interests here. It is meant to serve as a guide for preparation, avoidance, and resilience.

Pretty cool stuff. At the moment, Chicago's weather seems pretty reasonable for July, but the forecast calls for hot and awful weather later this week. And that will keep happening as climate change keeps pushing more energy into the atmosphere.

Stuff to read tomorrow morning

In just a few minutes I will take Cassie to boarding, then head up to Northwestern for a rehearsal (I'm in the chorus at Ravinia's upcoming performances of La Clemenza di Tito.) I'll then have to pack when I get home from rehearsal, then head to a hotel by O'Hare. Ah, how much fun is an 8:30 international flight!

As I'll have some time at the airport in the morning, and no time now, I want to queue these up for myself:

All right, I'm off. After I pack.

UK sets all-time heat record

The Met Office has provisionally recorded the UK's first-ever above-40°C (104°F) temperature:

Heathrow's 12:50 BST report to ICAO put the temperature at 39°C, with a heat index of 37.1°C (98.9°F). Meanwhile, the city of Abadan, Iran, has hit 51°C (123.8°F), which I can scarcely imagine.

And yet, the forecast for my trip this week looks perfect: highs in the mid-20s, with possible sprinkles Friday morning.

Hottest day ever in Wales: Met Office

The Met Office has declared that Gogerddan, Wales, has reached 35.3°C (95.5°F), the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country. Meanwhile, the London Broil continues:

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong, said “The extreme temperatures that we have been forecasting are now beginning to build and it is likely that today we will see values reach into the high 30s, possibly challenging the UK record of 38.7°C set in July 2019.

“Even higher maximum temperatures will develop tomorrow with a 70% chance of somewhere in England exceeding 40°C. A value of this level would exceed the current UK record by 1.3°C or more. This is akin to a marathon runner shaving 20 minutes off of the current record.

“Nights are also likely to be exceptionally warm, especially in urban areas. This is likely to lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure. Therefore, it is important people plan for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can have adverse health effects.”

This is the first time we have forecast 40°C in the UK. The current record high temperature in the UK is 38.7°C, which was reached at Cambridge Botanic Garden on 25 July in 2019.

Weather forecast models are run numerous times to help us quantify the likelihood of a particular event occurring and estimate the uncertainty which is always present in weather forecasting to some degree. Some models are now producing a 70% chance of maximum temperatures in excess of 40°C in isolated parts of the UK for the start of next week. Mid, to high, 30s Celsius will be seen more widely with a 95% chance we will exceed the current record.

At this writing, Heathrow and London City both report 36.0°C (96.8°F). They still have more livable weather than the world's hot spot right now: Abadan, Iran, reports 50°C (122°F), but its 6°C dewpoint and 8% humidity make it feel like a much cooler 45.6°C (114.7°F).

I arrive around 22:15 BST Wednesday, when temperatures should be closer to 22°C (74°F), which is still a very warm summer day in London.

American League rules, apparently

I went to a Cubs game today for the first time since 6 June 2019, mainly because they have made a quest of finding imaginative ways to lose.

Today they lost because of a new rule imported from kickball, where they put a man on second base at the start of extra innings. They want the game to end sooner, you see, but with the wind blowing in like this:

Then you get a 1-1 ballgame going into the 11th. The next run will win the game, because hitting really sucks with a 20-knot wind coming from center field. And the next run—shown on the scoreboard above—did win the game. That, and some lousy Cubs hitting.

I still had fun, but I really would have preferred the Cubs win instead of the Mutts.

Lost on a small island

Ordinance Survey, the UK's equivalent to our US Geological Survey, recently discovered that 77% of Brits can't read a map:

Just how far is it to the pub? Three-quarters of UK adults are in danger of never finding out, according to a poll commissioned by Ordnance Survey to mark National Map Reading Week (11-17 July). It found that 77% of respondents couldn’t recognise the most basic OS map symbols, such as viewpoints and pubs. (The latter is marked with a classic pint “jug” glass with handle, so could the ignorance be down to the switch to straight beer glasses?)

Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, more than half (56%) admitted they’d got lost because they couldn’t use a map or follow a phone app correctly, with 39% resorting to calling friends and family, 26% flagging down help, and 10% calling mountain rescue to get home.

Even when they’re not actually getting lost, 31% said they were worried they might. Many adults (46%) said they were happier walking with someone else.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has declared its first Red Weather Warning as they expect temperatures to hit 40°C in London on Monday and Tuesday:

Fortunately for me, they expect cooler weather Wednesday and beyond.

Busy day = reading backlog

I will definitely make time this weekend to drool over the recent photos from the James Webb Space Telescope. It's kind of sad that no living human will ever see anything outside our solar system, but we can dream, right?

Closer to home than the edge of the visible universe:

Finally, an F/A-18 slid right off the deck of the USS Harry S Truman and into the Mediterranean, which will probably result in a short Navy career for at least one weather forecaster or helmsman.

Meanwhile and elsewhere

In case you needed more things to read today:

There are others, but I've still got a lot to do today.

Fun travel experience!

I mentioned earlier today that my flight to Austin did not go smoothly. The plane actually took off on time and landed a few minutes ahead of schedule, and then...stopped. We wound up sitting on the apron for over two hours because of lightning near the airport. (Apparently the ground crew didn't want to get electrocuted. Seems legit.) Even after we got off the plane, our bags didn't for several hours.

Just look at this fun excerpt from the FlightAware track log:

But, as Cranky Flier reports, flying kind of sucks all over these days:

We are just about a month into the summer, and so it’s time to do a little temperature check. How are things going? The answer is… not well. Yes, there are delays and cancellations during any summer, and there’s plenty of labor vs management mudslinging as well. But the numbers themselves show that things are much worse than even a normally-frustrating summer.

I’ve tried to think of the best way put this into context, so let me put it this way. Across these 9 airlines, 3.1% of flights have been canceled from June 1 – 27. If we look at June 2019, the rate was 2.02%. That doesn’t sound like a lot, so let’s make it more tangible.

These nine airlines canceled 18,508 flights in the first 27 days of June. If they had “only” canceled 2.02% of flights as they did in June 2019, then 13,120 flights would have been canceled. In other words, the airlines have canceled more than 40 percent more flights this June simply because they couldn’t run an operation as well as they did in June 2019. And “well” was already a misnomer back then.

The question is… what the hell is going on to make this such a miserable experience for so many people? And the answer is… it’s all going bad.

Boy, I just can't wait to fly home Thursday...

Hottest day in 10 years–almost

Chicago's official temperature last hit 38°C (100°F) on 6 July 2022, almost 10 years ago. As of 4pm O'Hare reported steady at 37°C (98°F) with the likelihood of breaking the record diminishing by the minute. At Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, we have 37.2°C, still climbing, but leveling off.

In other hotness around the world:

Finally, Florida Fish and Wildlife Officials captured a 95-kilogram, 5.4-meter Burmese python, the largest ever discovered in the state. Apparently it had recently dined on a deer. So far they have found over 15,000 of the snakes, none of them quite so large.

Update: Not that I'm complaining, but after holding just under 37°C for three hours, the temperature finally started to drop. At 6pm O'Hare reported 36°C. So no record.