Jim Hansen calls his shot: For one brief shining minute, it was the hottest it’s ever been in DC. Or at least, the hottest we know of.
At the top of today’s front page, the Post explains what happened:
WILBER AND SVRLUGA (7/8/12): A heat wave that barreled into the Washington region more than a week ago finally crested Saturday, shattering records as residents took extraordinary measures to cope with a scorching sun.The mercury couldn’t sustain it! Still, the current stretch of hot weather made us recall a news report in the very same Washington Post—a report from 1986.
The day started off hot...and grew only more torrid, flirting with the District’s all-time record of 106 degrees. Indeed, the mercury touched 106 for one minute before slipping back to 105, failing to sustain the three-minute span required to establish a record, according to the National Weather Service.
Twenty-six years ago last month, history’s greatest weather forecaster amazed the elders in the Senate. In June of 1986, Cass Peterson reported the gloomy things forecaster Hansen had said:
PETERSON (6/11/86): By the middle of the next century, [Washington, DC] area residents can expect three months of daily temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, 12 days of temperatures above 100 degrees and 19 nights when the temperature does not fall below 80 degrees, according to NASA research on the "greenhouse effect" created by pollutants.James Hansen amazed the elders with his gloomy weather predictions. Three months of temperatures above 90 degrees! 12 days of temperatures above 100! 19 nights when the temperature doesn’t fall below 80 degrees!
In testimony yesterday before a Senate panel, Goddard Space Flight Center official James E. Hansen said that less drastic temperature increases will be evident much sooner and that within 15 years, global temperatures will rise "to a level which has not existed on Earth in the past 100,000 years."
The warning came as a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee opened two days of hearings on the impact of manmade pollutants on the atmosphere.
Yesterday morning, we thought of that yellowing new report—a report which appeared 26 years ago. In yesterday’s hard-copy Post, Michael Samenow reported what has happened in the past two weeks:
SAMENOW (7/7/12): On Friday, for the ninth consecutive day, the temperature in the District met or exceeded 95 degrees—it was official at 11:25 a.m. Then, the mercury kept rising, to a high of 100.Eleven straight days over 95! Four straight nights when the temperature hadn’t dropped below 80! Last night, the streak went to five.
In 141 years of local record-keeping, the streak is a first. And it is likely to stretch to 11 days this weekend.
It was just one of a steady wave of extraordinary heat records established over the past three summers. We've seen the hottest two summers on record (in 2010 and 2011), the hottest month (July 2011), the hottest days so early (102 on June 9, 2011) and late (99 on Sept. 24, 2010) in the year, the longest uninterrupted stretch of time with temperatures above 80 degrees (July 21-24, 2011) and a host of other superlatives.
(We can’t find a link to Samenow’s piece, which appeared on page A7 of Saturday’s hard-copy Post.)
Back in 1986, forecaster Hansen called his shot! Just to complete the record, here’s a bit more of the news report which appeared 26 years ago:
PETERSON (6/11/86): "I believe global warming is inevitable. It's only a question of magnitude and time," said Robert Watson, director of the upper atmospheric program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "We can expect significant changes in climate in the next few decades.”In some ways, NASA may have under-predicted. In some ways, the future is now!
Scientists said climatic changes in the United States may be particularly acute in northern areas, because temperature increases are more pronounced toward the Earth's poles. Annual average temperatures over much of the United States have risen 1 or 2 degrees since 1958, Hansen said, and NASA's calculations suggest that much of the nation can expect another 2- to 3-degree increase by the 2010s.
Applying its predictions to Washington, NASA calculated that by 2050, the city would average 11.6 days above 100 degrees Fahrenheit each year instead of fewer than one as it does now. Instead of 35.5 days of 90 degree-plus temperatures, there would be 86.9 such days—virtually an entire summer.
In our view, James Hansen pretty much called his shot. That may have been the best weather forecast in (recorded) history.
On the down side, Hansen failed to offer a few key predictions.
He failed to predict the way the droogs would churn decades of climate disinformation. He failed to predict the press corps’ overall failure to rise to this challenge.
He failed to predict the way Al Gore would wear too many earth-toned polo shirts, thus helping us see how foolish his work on climate change actually was. He failed to predict the way Frank Rich would clown and name-call Gore for years, even after Gore’s film on climate change appeared in 2006. (That last part was truly astounding.)
Hansen failed to predict the way the liberal world would let Rich, a made man, behave in these ridiculous ways from 1999 on. But then, who could have predicted the nonsense which would define this era?
To this day, we liberals won’t even discuss it! Can we really blame Jim Hansen because he failed to predict it?
Amazing the elders in the Senate, forecaster Hansen called his shot! But even the world’s greatest weatherman couldn’t see the stupidity lying ahead—some of which came from the greatest stars of our pitiful alleged “liberal world.”
Our own incomparable forecast: In 1986, we reacted to Hansen’s testimony with some flawless investment advice:
Buy land in Newfoundland, we incomparably said. It will be “the new Nantucket.”
We stand by every word, although it’s still long-term advice.