As meteorologists forecast this week’s sweltering heat and humidity to finally break tonight, here’s a recap of this week’s late-summer heat wave:
- Boston had its second-hottest night ever, never going below 81 in the early morning of August 29. Boston, Providence and Worcester all set records for warmest night for the date.
- New all-time record high set for August 29 in Boston and tied in Providence.
- On the same day, Worcester more than doubled its record rainfall for the date. (Via NBC10’s Matt Noyes.)
- 2018 is on pace to be the 4th-hottest year ever globally and would mean the last 4 years on Earth have each been among the 4 hottest on record.
How do we know global warming is loading the dice for heat waves exactly like the one we’re suffering through?
- Global warming is increasing heat waves.
- Global warming is also raising humidity, amplifying the deadliness of the heat.
- Nights are warming even faster than days, making nights not just more miserable but potentially lethal in a region like ours where many homes don’t have air conditioning.
But as usual, Google News searches turn up little coverage connecting the dots between the heat and the climate crisis. (If I missed any, please link to them in comments.)
The Boston Globe wrote about August’s potentially record-setting heat, but ignored how global warming is adding fuel to our fire. In the weather section, Dave Epstein continues his war on people saying global warming is causing global warming by saying, “One hot summer isn’t climate change, but this type of summer is what a change in climate looks like.” What does the first part of that sentence even mean? He then writes, “The fact that the past couple of decades has seen this kind of warmth doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t go back to a cooler regime.” Is the Boston Globe’s weather correspondent saying global warming could magically disappear?
Epstein seems to revel in being a contrarian who lectures climate scientists about going too far connecting climate patterns to daily weather. On a day when the Washington Post is running the clear-eyed headline “Climate change could render many of Earth’s ecosystems unrecognizable,” he makes the Globe’s climate coverage look painfully behind the times.
WCVB did not connect climate disruption to February’s record heat or the ensuing nor’easters fueled by incredibly warm coastal water. But they did run a story this week during the heat wave connecting the nor’easters to global warming without mentioning this week’s heat wave at all. Maybe this winter they’ll do a story about how climate change fueled the heat wave?
“The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” leading climate scientist Michael Mann told CNN. “We are seeing them play out in real time in the form of unprecedented heat waves, floods, droughts and wildfires. And we’ve seen them all this summer.”
Maybe some day, Boston’s media will start covering global warming as the clear-and-present crisis that it is. But we haven’t seen it this summer.