Monday, August 11, 2003

Tragedy near Terrassa. Five people were killed--asphyxiated--in Sant Llorenc Savall. There is a major fire up there that is still burning out of control; several hundred people have been evacuated from the area. Portugal, Spain, and France are burning; square miles of forest are going up and people are dying. High temperatures are ranging from about 95 to 110 F over southwestern Europe; Barcelona, where the highs are around 95, is getting off comparatively easy because of our seacoast location, though the surface temperature of the seawater is around 78-82 F, extremely warm. There are no signs of a break this week.

I've seen a few American bloggers calling the Europeans a bunch of wimps because it's a big deal that it hit 100 F in London, which has never happened before. See, you Yanks over there don't understand that we don't have air conditioning. Everybody in KC has air conditioning. 98 percent, anyway. It's a necessity of life when it's 90 F every day for two months like it is there. That never happens here in Europe. Nobody in Britain has A/C--hell, it gets hot enough to use it maybe three days a year. I don't have A/C because 85 F or so is as hot as it ever gets in Barcelona--but this year we've had 52 consecutive days with temps above 90 and there's no sign of any letup. They don't have A/C in a lot of hospitals, which is causing hundreds of deaths. Only fifty have been reported in Paris, but there'll be hundreds more all around Europe.

As usual the loonies are shouting that it's global warming. Folks, the whole point of global warning is that it's a gradual increase in temperatures caused by the buildup in carbon dioxide, right? It's supposed to be something we will see in the years to come, according to the theory. This here we're experiencing isn't a change in climate, it's a weather phenomenon caused by two enormous high-pressure systems. It is nasty hot weather, all right, but it is neither proof of nor a symptom of climate change.

Record-breaking temperatures, you say? Well, there are 365 days in a year, which means one record high temp and one record low temp for each of them 365 dates. In Barcelona records have been kept since about 1860, about 140 years. You do the math, but it looks to me like you ought to have an average, every year, of two record-breaking high temp days and two record-breaking low temps. Some years you'll have zero. Most years you'll have a couple. Every twenty or fifty or whatever years you'll have a big year and 20 or 30 new records. This is a big year for record high temps.

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