Worst heat in 141 years: “It’s summer,” says George Will

The inability of climate change deniers to admit the possibility that the heat wave that baked the eastern U.S. for nearly two weeks might be connected to global warming has assumed absurd proportions. 

On Sunday, on ABC's "This Week," George Will waved off the possibility in his contemptuous way: 

“You asked us — how do we explain the heat? One word: summer. I grew up in central Illinois in a house without air conditioning. What is so unusual about this? Now, come the winter, there will be a cold snap, lots of snow, and the same guys, like E.J. [Dionne], will start lecturing us. There’s a difference between the weather and the climate. I agree with that. We’re having some hot weather. Get over it.”

What's unusual about nine days in a row when Washington D.C. topped 95 degrees? It's never happened before, in 141 years of record keeping. 

A few other records Washington set recently:

* The hottest two summers on record (2010 hottest and 2011 second hottest)

* Two of the top four hottest Junes on record (2010-warmest and 2011-tied for 3rd warmest with 1943)

* Hottest June day and tie for second hottest June day (2012 at 104, and 2010 at 102 tied with June 9, 1874)

* Hottest two Julys (2011 and 2010)

* Hottest month (July 2011)

* Most 90+ degree days in a month (July 2011, 25 days)

* Earliest 100-degree reading in a day (July 6 2010, before noon)

* Longest uninterrupted stretch of temperatures above 100 (July 6, 2010, 7 hours)

* Longest uninterrupted stretch of temperatures above 80 (July 21 to 24, 2011 – over four days)

* Most and second most nights above 80 degrees (7 in 2011 and 4 in 2010)

* Warmest low temperature (84 on July 23 and 24, 2011 tied with July 16, 1983)

The Post's best-known science writer, Joel Achenbach, agreed, snapping at Will's "Get over it."

I’m not sure that advanced the conversation. Yes, climate and weather are different, but E.J. didn’t argue that the heat wave is due to climate change, he merely argued that it would be prudent to assume that climate change is going to create problems for us and we should take precautions. You can argue solutions all you want, and there is abundant room for disagreement about how to respond most effectively to climate change. But to say it’s just summer is too much like the Black Night in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” saying it’s just a flesh wound.

But Will can't open his mind to the possibility that anything has changed since he was a kid.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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