Monday, March 13, 2006

Winds of Change

Updated at 8:30: Tim Flannery, author of "The Weather Makers" mentioned below, will be online tomorrow to discuss his book. You can submit questions ahead of time.

Proceed directly to summer. Do not pass "Go". Do not collect $200. If you disliked Friday's balminess, you're positively hating it today.

Strong southwesterly breezes ahead of a vigorous low pressure area centered near Lake Michigan this afternoon are bringing near-record temperatures to the Washington DC metro area. Mid afternoon readings pushing into the mid 80s would be quite at home in late August, but they are not accompanied by oppressive mugginess; dewpoints are mainly in the mid 50s. Here at Afternoon Blog Central, the Oregon Scientific is now down a couple of degrees from a high of 85. A low rumble turned out to be the bus from the French International School rounding the corner. As Jason explained earlier, this early visitation from summer will be short-lived.

Pictured: The first cherry blossoms appearing around the Washington Monument this morning. By photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Regional radar shows a line of showers and thunderstorms, some with heavy rain, pushing out of the upper Ohio Valley toward western Pennsylvania and the northern panhandle of West Virginia. By 4pm, they were over Pittsburgh, but not yet to Morgantown. Some of these storms may reach the local area this evening or later tonight.

Tonight and Tomorrow

For tonight, showers and possible thunderstorms are likely from the late evening to the early morning hours. Temperatures will fall by morning to the mid 50s. Tomorrow will be much cooler; highs will be only in the upper 50s with a strong northwesterly breeze.

Political Science

Today's unseasonable warmth doesn't prove global warming any more than possible snow flakes later in the week disprove it. However, yesterday's Wapo BoWo featured a cover article jointly reviewing three new books on climate change. The books, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, The Winds of Change, and The Weather Makers, are by two magazine writers and a scientist. They each take different paths through the history and implications of climate change, but they all arrive at a similar conclusion:
The Earth is warming, we're causing it, and that is not at all a good thing.
Needless to say, the review has already provoked a knee-jerk reaction from the oil-industry-funded noise machine. We'll have more to say about countering debunkers with the FAQs in a future post.

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