Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Case of the Temp-Anomaly Restless Red Bar -OR- Nothing on the Mark

Ginormous oak tree, 1800 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 1:29 p.m. Sept 15, 2019

This ginormous, beautiful tree is either a swamp (white) oak or a swap chestnut oak. Alternatively, it might just be a chestnut oak. I just don't know.


Monday late night. Well, actually, wee hours Tuesday morning by the time I posted this entry.

I went to the gym earlier tonight after a busy day at work. I'm now home in my wee air-conditioned apartment watching the usual old school MeTV lineup -- when, that is, the digital reception isn't pixelated shit -- specifically, The Carol Burnett Show, Perry Mason, and The Twilight Zone.

Of note, MeTV has cycled back to the beginning of the Perry Mason series.

Specifically, tonight it is airing "The Case of the Restless Redhead" -- the premier (pilot?) episode, (episode 1, season 1) featuring the great Raymond Burr as the titular famed lawyer.

At the start of the series, Burr's character had yet to develop into that suave, unflappable, Zen-like intuitive, practically saint-like persona.

This episode originally aired Sept 21, 1957 -- so we are just days away from the 62nd anniversary of it.

God, they smoked a lot then.

Also of note, The Twilight Zone (original series) episode is my favorite: "Nothing in the Dark." It stars and a very young Robert Redford (as "Mr. Death" pretending to be a badly wounded policeman, Harold Beldon) and the great English actress of stage, film, and television, Dame Gladys Constance Cooper as the elderly and terrified shut-in Wanda Dunn.

It's such a wonderful episode. I never get tired of watching it, especially the closing minutes.

Mr. Death -- having dropped the guise of the gunshot wounded policeman -- calls her "mother," which I take to be a subtle nod to the fact that humans, from a teleological perspective of our very existence, give birth to Death. In the Christian theology, or at least Milton's Paradise Lost, Death is "born" via Satan and Sin.

Mr. Death says to her after he takes her hand: "You see? No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end, is the beginning."

And Rod Serling's closing narration is lyrical:

"There was an old woman who lived in a room. And, like all of us, was frightened of the dark. But who discovered in a minute last fragment of her life that there was nothing in the dark that wasn't there when the lights were on. Object lesson for the more frightened amongst us in, or out of, the Twilight Zone."

This episode, #81, is season 3, episode 16 -- that is, 3:16, as in John 3:16. I wonder if that was deliberate.

3426 Prospect Street NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 3:01 p.m. Sept 15, 2019

This house is located at the corner of Prospect and 35th Streets NW -- and, despite its Prospect Street numbering, frontage on the steeply sloping, cobblestoned 35th Street NW, which is the first (or last) one to run down to M Street NW in Georgetown.


As a weather update …

It was another frickin' hot and rainless day with official KDCA high of 92F. We went from record rainfall to total dryness in the past eight weeks.

Cumulative chart of 90F+ days for Washington, D.C., for 2019 through Sept 16 compared to other averages (click on image for larger version)


The high temperature today (Monday) of 92F high made it the 57th daily occurrence this year of 90F or higher in D.C.

The record number is 67 days in 1980 and 2010 and the second-most is 59 days set in five separate years: 1991, 1988, 1966, 1943, and 1872 -- so two of these is in the pre-National Airport period.

(This assumes the airport period began in mid-1945, although I've seen other information indicating it started in 1941.)

The third-most number of 90F+ days is 58 days set in 2016 -- and with 57 days, we just surpassed the 56 days set in 2002. My sense is that we'll have three or four more such days this infernal summer / fall.

The annual average number of 90F+ days for the National Airport-only base period of 1946 - 2018 (corresponding to full calendar years) is 36 while the full historical record back to 1871 (1872 is listed on the chart shown above) is, I estimate, 32 days.

It's not quite clear on the chart, which comes from this Capital Weather Gang (CWG) entry.

To be clear, and based upon the current 1981 - 2010 thirty-year NWS average, the highest daily average temperature in Washington, D.C., is 89F, i.e., the daily average never quite reaches 90F.

That 89F high lasts for 16 consecutive days from July 7th to July 22nd (see here). Again, that is a 30-year daily average.

I suspect that when the next thirty-year average comes out (base period 1991 - 2020), it will tick up to 90F.

Of note, also per the CWG (link embedded): The Northern Hemisphere just had its warmest summer on record.

June-July-August global land-sea surface temperature anomalies time series for the period 1880 - 2019 versus 1901 - 2000 base period

Those frickin' red bars signifying warm temperature anomalies are relentlessly on the march …


For the June-July-August period, the global land-sea surface temperature anomaly was +0.93°C above the 1901-2000 base period -- or ranked 139th out of 140 back to 1880, just 0.02°C behind the 140th (i.e., hottest) JJA period set in 2016.

That is, it was the second warmest on record. The top six years for JJA have all been since 2014 (see 2014 - 2019 list above).

Our globally warmed and still-warming, human-infested-and-fucked-up, but otherwise beautiful planet continues to heat up.

Paddle boarders and boats on the Potomac River, sparkling in the sunshine, backdropped with Rosslyn and Theodore Roosevelt Island, 3:15 p.m. Sept 15, 2019


OK, I'm going to send this entry. My plan was post one more entry tonight -- a reposting of a Peter Wehner column interspersed with topically-unrelated pictures -- but it's too late for that, so I'll try tomorrow.


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