Feb 1, 2012

How Hot will Austin Get?

It's Feb 1st and I'm driving around with my A/C on. According to my phone the high today in Austin, TX today will be 77F.1 If you look at the historical record of Austin's high and low temperatures maybe that's not so bad. On Jan 30, 1971 it was 90F. The record for today was set in 1963 at 83F. Austin's low temperatures are impressive too: Feb 1, 1951 it was 12F. In 1949 it was -2F on Jan 30.

But the average temperature range for Austin this time of year is between 62 and 40. Moreover, note that MOST of the United States has "escaped winter" thus far this year. January 2012 was, "statistically (speaking), an extremely off the charts heat wave for the whole month for most of the country." This January was the 2nd most heat record breaking month out of the last 12, second only to August 2011. And journalists are not asking climate scientists "is there a connection?"

"Heat Ratios" = number of record breaking days vs. total days in a month.
(Click images to enlarge.)

Temperature averages, decade on decade.

But surely the press will start talking to climate scientists soon? As the world's fossil fuel industries boom2 and climate scientists cautiously advise that our current weather/climate situation looks an awful lot like the scary, unsustainable scenario environmentalists like me are afraid of (as in the lots of "change" this century scenario), Central Texas stays dry. Really dry. 

Oh sure, it's "rained," but I recommend checking out the US Drought Monitor archive, clicking the "Contiguous US" setting to "Texas" and noodling around between the graphics to get a sense of how hot and dry summer 2012 will likely be.3 Hint below:

Drought at the beginning of summer 2011.

Drought at the end of 2011.

Drought report last week.


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