The National Weather Service calls this “oppressive” heat and humidity. When I got up at 6:00 a.m., the temperature inside the house was 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was maybe two degrees cooler outside.
I went for a walk while it was still relatively cool. A light breeze was coming in off the water, just strong enough to blow the deer flies away. Down on the town beach, you could see maybe a few hundred yards out into Buzzard’s Bay — it wasn’t exactly fog, the air was just murky with moisture. There was no horizon: the gray water shaded into the gray murk which got slightly brighter as it shaded into the gray sky.
I walked slowly, stopping to look at the periwinkles slowly making their way along the sand, and at green seaweed (Ulva intestinalis?) waving in the water. Though I walked slowly, within a quarter of an hour I was drenched in sweat.
This heat humidity has been going on for weeks now, with only an occasional break. This is not the summer weather we had in New England twenty years ago. It feels more like summers in Philadelphia when I lived there in the 1980s. Or maybe even summers in the Deep South.
Scientists tell us that you can’t tell if climate change is happening based on one weather pattern of a few weeks. So OK, I’m willing to trust the scientists on this one. Nevertheless, this doesn’t feel like the New England weather I remember from the past. Maybe I’m just another old guy waxing nostalgic for lost youth. (Or maybe I’m just an old guy who can’t take the heat any more.) Then I read about the extreme heat in Europe this summer, and what I’m experiencing fits into a larger pattern. Climate change is happening.