The New Normal

The calendar says June. The map says Nashville, Tennessee. The thermometer says Phoenix, Arizona.

Yesterday it was 109 degrees in Nashville. I shit you not.

Did I mention it’s still June? Hottest day ever on record. Today is not much better. In fact, for the foreseeable future Nashville is expected to be 100+ degrees. If this is June, then August is going to be positively brutal.

When I was a kid, we used to visit my grandmother in Palm Desert, California every summer. I remember more than one July Fourth in the California desert that was as hot as Nashville is this weekend. In fact, Nashville’s temp this weekend is the same as Phoenix, Arizona.

So here we are. We’re becoming a desert. Get used to it. Sure, the record we’re breaking was set in 1952, but we’ve been breaking daily records for decades. Hey remember that awful August of 2007? When people died from the heat? And that was August.

And 2010 was so bad, I was blogging about record-breaking August heat and the strange critters it had drawn out into the land of the living.

So, welcome to the new normal. I’m trying to make peace with it. For one thing, the super hot and dry temperatures have wrecked havoc on our nastier pests: chiggers and mosquitoes. The little fuckers don’t stand a chance in this climate. Winning! Also, for the past few years I’ve nixed stuff like impatiens and opted for hardier Lantana, which can handle extreme heat and drought. Last winter, believe it or not, my Lantana wintered over. First time that’s ever happened.

Some Like It Hot

On the other hand, I’m desperately trying to save my Viburnum, which have just the sweetest smelling blooms in spring. I’m losing. I’m afraid the koi are going to boil alive in the pond. And what was I thinking when I cut down some trees shading the garden? I know: I was thinking my plants needed more sunshine. Damn, I’d give anything for that shade now.

So, folks, you can pretend climate change isn’t real all you want. Pass all the bills you want allowing you to teach that the dinosaurs just missed Noah’s boatlift and climate change is a liberal plot. That doesn’t change the facts and that doesn’t mean it ain’t happening. It just means you’re stupid.

Personally, I’ve been with the “it’s too late, anyway” camp for a while. We can’t reverse this. We could have if we took action a few decades ago, but not anymore. I’m sure when things become too obvious for even wingnuts to ignore they’ll blame Democrats — that’s what they always do. Might I suggest they cool off at a nice, air conditioned movie theater — perhaps one showing Phil Valentine’s climate change denial movie?


Filed under climate change, garden blogging, Nashville weather

11 responses to “The New Normal

  1. D.


    Between reports of Midwestern heat and reports of aquifer depletion (I had the article for three days, and did I blog it? No. And now I can’t find it), “desert” is probably the appropriate term.

  2. greennotGreen

    I took cuttings from an angel wing begonia last fall and left the pot sitting in the back yard. The begonia has come back from the roots.

    I can take the heat; it’s the drought that’s going to kill our ecosystem.

  3. Here in Vegas my Lantanas are doing great, thank you. They die back in winter, the landscaper cuts them back, and they return better than ever every time.

  4. It’s been warm, so far, up here in central New York, but we did have some Julyish days–back in March.

    I will be flying to Denver on tuesday, spending the 4th with my brother and his family and then caravanning up to Omaha for the family reunion. I always expect Omaha to be hot in July but not 100+ for a week. We’ll see what’s what.

    AGW denialists are fucking morons.

  5. themadkansan

    …you’re just =now= getting hit with it?

    It’s been here on the Great (hate) Plains for the better part of 2-3 weeks now – constantly 100+, 110+ most days, with 10% or less RH; almost as bad as last year with all the 100+ days and 40%+ RH, where it felt like you were walking out the front door into a bloody sunlamp-filled sauna…

  6. ThresherK

    Beat the (northeast version of) heat at Tanglewood last night for A Prarie Home Companion, with Arlo Guthrie as special guest. The crowd loved him even more than one would imagine a bunch of aging hippies, ex-hippies, kids of hippies, and NPR types to love a guy like Arlo.

    On the lawn, in the shade, was the place to be, with our toes in the grass.

    My spouse is the gardener, so I can’t say anything about plants in our yard, except there’s lots of pollen. Now it’s back to reality and worrying about the Ogallala Aquifier.

  7. nothere

    I quit talking about AGW more than 12 years ago. Wasted breath just adds to the temperature rise.

  8. We’re cooked! (Well shit somebody had to say it)

  9. The Ogallal Aquifer; ah, I remember it well. Was the time (back when I still had that long hippieish hair) that the OA was gonna be the savior of mankind, an “inexhaustible resource” of fresh, clean water to use for, among other things, growing huge crops of wheat, corn and soybeans on center pivot irrigated farms. A lot of those farms were in places where only doagies should have been. Now that the “inexhaustible” resource of the OA is much depleted, the farms are becoming the new Dust Bowl. What is it they say in France? fuck mother nature and she fucks you back?

  10. Tracey

    Maryland resident for the past 25 years. In just my time here, I’ve seen the climate change. We’ve got more and more dry spells, crazy, out-of-season storms, more tropical storms coming through, and our winters are either no-snow-on-the-ground or Snowmageddon. We no longer have spring or fall, either–we go right from winter to summer back to winter.

  11. Honest to goodness, SB

    I am convinced that greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are causing global warming and climate change. I have heard almost every study that has stood the test of time going back to the early 1930s when the idea was introduced. On the UCSD channel. Apparently the idea was heard in the U.S. congress when LBJ was president. It was tabled because smog and air pollution were a greater immediate concern. I’m familiar with Roger Revelle, Howard Keeling, countless other lecturers. I think the evidence is incontrovertible. Melting glaciers from Montana to the Himalayas. The ice sheet in Greenland. The northern passage. Rising sea levels and rising mean temperatures. No one has to convert me. Interestingly, ocean scientists have developed a new and more reliable method of calculating mean ocean temperature. They send a ping from Hawaii to California or some other similar distance. The time it takes the sound to travel indicates the average ocean temperature.

    But we must guard against using weather as proof of climate. The hottest summer I remember was 1989. The California drought of the early 1870s was far worse than anything we have seen since. I think the severity of the wildfires is good evidence. But even that is tainted with other problems such as bark beetle infestation and other forms of old science.

    When I read your post, it was 6:00 on a Sunday and my temperature in the palisades was 72 degrees in the shade. That was the last sunny day this week. Right now it’s 70 degrees at 12:00 PDT and has been foggy/misty/cloudy since Sunday night. I can only hope I get two hours of sun on my day off. This isn’t the normal June gloom which is caused by heat over the ocean. It’s foggy because it is unseasonably cold. It’s been a very cold La Nina spring. We got nine inches of rain this season. Well below last year and the average. But we might have got even less if it hadn’t been so cold. My tomatoes are spindly from lack of heat.