The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Florida's in hot water

Sea-surface temperatures around our embarrassing southern peninsula have passed 32°C, significantly warmer than normal:

Not only is Florida sizzling in record-crushing heat, but the ocean waters that surround it are scorching, as well. The unprecedented ocean warmth around the state — connected to historically warm oceans worldwide — is further intensifying its heat wave and stressing coral reefs, with conditions that could end up strengthening hurricanes.

Much of Florida is seeing its warmest year on record, with temperatures running 2 to 3°C above normal. While some locations have been setting records since the beginning of the year, the hottest weather has come with an intense heat dome cooking the Sunshine State in recent weeks. That heat dome has made coastal waters extremely warm, including “downright shocking” temperatures of 33°C to 35°C in the Florida Keys, meteorologist and journalist Bob Henson said Sunday in a tweet.

Such warm water temperatures “would be impressive any time of year, but they’re occurring when the water would already be rather warm, bringing it up to bona fide bathtub conditions that we rarely see,” Brian McNoldy, senior research associate at the University of Miami and hurricane expert for Capital Weather Gang, said in an email.

The marine heat wave will likely make this year's hurricane season more active and more powerful, and cause continued above-normal temperatures in the Caribbean and southern US.

Why am I inside?

I'm in my downtown office today, with its floor-to-ceiling window that one could only open with a sledgehammer. The weather right now makes that approach pretty tempting. However, as that would be a career-limiting move, I'm trying to get as much done as possible to leave downtown on the 4:32 train instead of the 5:32. I can read these tomorrow in my home office, with the window open and the roofers on the farthest part of my complex from it:

Finally, does day drinking cause more harm than drinking at night? (Asking for a friend.)

Hottest day in modern humanity

Monday was the hottest day on the planet in 125,000 years. Yesterday was hotter:

Tuesday was the hottest day on Earth since at least 1979, with the global average temperature reaching 17.18°C, according to data from the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

Tuesday’s global average temperature was calculated by a model that uses data from weather stations, ships, ocean buoys and satellites, Paulo Ceppi, a climate scientist at London’s Grantham Institute, explained in an email Wednesday. This modeling system has been used to estimate daily average temperatures starting in 1979.

“This is our ‘best guess’ of what the surface temperature at each point on earth was yesterday,” he said.

Instrument-based global temperature records go back to the mid-19th century, but for temperatures before that, scientists are dependent on proxy data captured through evidence left in tree rings and ice cores. “These data tell us that it hasn’t been this warm since at least 125,000 years ago, which was the previous interglacial,” Ceppi said, referring to a period of unusual warmth between two ice ages.

Because of the El Nino building in the Pacific, the normal seasonal warmth in the Northern Hemisphere, and human-caused climate change, we can expect more records as the summer goes on. Nice work, people.

A little fall of rain

Yesterday's rain in Chicago set a few records:

Sunday’s heavy rain poured upward of 200 mm in Berwyn, Cicero and Garfield Park, according to preliminary reports from weather officials, sending residents in search of supplies to clean up flooded homes.

The National Weather Service said that daily rainfall totals ranged from 75 to 175 mm in the immediate Chicago area after “extended rounds of heavy/torrential rainfall.”

The preliminary data came from radar estimates, personal weather stations and rain gauges. Official information will be released over the next few days, weather officials said.

O’Hare International Airport broke the record for daily rainfall on Sunday, recording 85 mm of rain. The previous record was 52 mm in July 1982.

Yesterday's rain didn't even come close to the record 24-hour rainfall that ruined a summer party I'd planned for weeks on 13-14 August 1987. That day we got 238 mm of rain and a flooded basement.

Walkies deficit

Because of yesterday's rain, poor Cassie only got 23 minutes of walkies yesterday—almost all of it in drenching rain. I went through two towels drying her off after each of her walks. And of course, because she was (a) being rained on and (b) couldn't smell anything, it took her way more time than I preferred to find where to do her job.

For my part, I really got a close shave on my step count:

Today we have blue skies, sun, and a forecast high of 23°C: perfection. (The AQI is down to 47, too.) I have to do a few hours of work for a freelance client and get a bag of kibble, but other than that, I plan to take Cassie on several walks worthy of my dog.

No hurry to get to Ravinia tonight

I've got tickets to see Straight No Chaser with some chorus friends at Ravinia Park tonight—on the lawn. Unfortunately, for the last 8 hours or so, our weather radar has looked like this:

I haven't got nearly as much disappointment as the folks sitting in Grant Park right now waiting for a NASCAR race that will never happen in this epic rainfall. (I think Mother Nature is trying to tell NASCAR something. Or at least trying to tell Chicago NASCAR fans something. Hard to tell.)

While I'm waiting to see if it will actually stop raining before my train leaves at 5:49pm, I have this to read:

I am happy the roofers finished my side of my housing development already. The people across the courtyard have discovered the temporary waterproofing was a bit more temporary than the roofers intended.

Still hazy

The AQI at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters has prompted me to put my air conditioning on:

Nice that the ozone has also popped out of the healthy range, too. And this is what it looks like from 25 meters up:

I'm really hoping this 1970s-style air blows away overnight. It's really unpleasant, even if the sunset was pretty.

Chicago air quality worst in the world today

Chicago has an air quality alert right now as the World Air Quality Index lists us first (last?) in the world for worst air quality:

Canadian wildfire smoke pouring into Chicago has made its air quality the worst in the world Tuesday.

The World Air Quality Index ranked Chicago as the worst for air quality, with Dubai, Minneapolis, Jakarta and Doha, Indonesia rounding out the top 5. Chicago’s air is labeled an “unhealthy” 172 by the index.

The National Weather Service blamed the conditions and low visibility on the wildfire smoke that has wafted down from Canada and impacted large regions of the U.S. The service suggested limiting prolonged outdoor activities.

The problem is predicted to last through the day Tuesday.

I haven't seen air quality like this since I visited Los Angeles in the early 1980s:

A low cloud layer hung over the area until just a few minutes ago, but as you can see from this GOES-East image, we've got thick enough smoke that it almost makes now difference:

I just snapped this photo from my office door:

(I'd send up my drone but it's a bit too windy.)

People wonder what anthropogenic climate change looks like. Well, here it is.