Texas, Summer 2011: Officially the Hottest in U.S. History


Photo: accent on electric via Flickr/CC BY

Yes, yes, you know it's been hot and fiery and dry down there, and every subsequent news report you read only tells you things are getting worse. This one will be no different: Texas has officially experienced the hottest summer in recorded US history. The drought that stretched throughout the Dust Bowl may have been longer (we'll see, we'll see!), but this summer was hotter.

Texas is inching toward resembling hell right now, and least because a raving, science-denying religious zealot runs the place. No, the physical kind of hell. And at the risk of blowing a capillary whilst pounding the words onto this blogging software one more time: IT IS ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE as climate change advances. My colleague John Laumer has been emailing me, speculating that we'll soon see an exodus out of Texas -- the rich and semi-rich and car-owners and upwardly mobile will bolt, fearing more disastrous heat and drought and wildfires. He might be right. I mean, who wants to live in hell?


This year's scorching Texas summer heat, in a dubious honor, broke a national record once held by Oklahoma that had stood since the Dust Bowl changed the face of the country in the 1930s. On Thursday, the National Weather Service confirmed what Texas climatologists and residents already suspected: The Texas months of June through August were the hottest three months ever recorded in the history of the United States.

It may take years or decades for Texas to get too hot for anyone to want to live there, but so as long as greenhouse gases continue to concentrate in the atmosphere, so as long as we keep emitting the stuff at a prodigious, ultra-unprecedented rate, believe you me (and thousands and thousands of the smartest climate scientists in the world), it will.

Fantastic advances in air conditioning may make it possible for oil workers to keep the refineries and pipelines running in comfort, so that we might squeeze every last drop of carbon out of the ground before the companies doing the squeezing acknowledge what's happening.

But even so, a disclaimer to the Republican Youth of America: Do not buy property in Texas! Or in Arizona, or New Mexico, for that matter! It is too hot, and too dry, and you are too young! And you are upwardly mobile, with long lives ahead of you! Hell is no place for the ruddy-faced businessmen of tomorrow! There is oil in the Arctic, after all, bluer skies...

And here, in the final paragraph, I anticipate the response: You worrywart. You alarmist. And sure, it's alarming indeed! Reality often is. But if scientists had used a telescope to identify a piano dangling out the window above the very place where you were standing, would you not want to be warned? Even if you couldn't see the piano yourself (it's too high up, too far away!)?

There's a giant piano dangling out the great window in the sky over Texas and the Southwest. And you can either get the hell out of there, or we can work together to bring that mother back inside, where it's safer.

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More Texas Heat
Texas Drought Drives Residents to Drink Their Pee: A Glimpse of the Future?
No End in Sight For Texas Drought

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