How does climate change change our perception of everyday weather? Yesterday, we enjoyed after a cold and rainy May a really fine (early) summer day in Hamburg. But are there still any innocent 'fine summer days' at all? On June 1st, I read on climateprogress that May was far too hot elsewhere, and things are not better at home. Joe Romm reminds me that I shouldn't pretend to be innocent anymore. No one should. For example, in the US records are broken permanently: “Climate change is making itself felt in terms of day-to-day weather in the United States,” says Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “The ways these records are being broken show how our climate is already shifting.”
Is it cynical then to speak of a 'fine summer day'? Maybe yesterday was a record breaking day or another day adding to the overall rise of average temperatures. Who knows. Was the short rain shower on our bike ride in Hamburg already a sign of the 'tropicalization' of the North? We said so, jokingly, while getting wet on our bikes. How do weather and climate, science and everyday experience relate? How did these relations change? How does this change our sense of weather and climate?
As a contrast, just read a description of a fine summer day in 1913 in a masterful piece of literature and make your own judgment:
"A barometric low hung over the Atlantic. It moved eastward toward a high-pressure area over Russia without as yet showing any inclination to bypass this high in a northerly direction. The isotherms and isotheres were functioning as they should. The air temperature was appropriate relative to the annual mean temperature and to the aperiodic monthly fluctuations of the temperature. The rising and the setting of the sun, the moon, the phases of the moon, of Venus, of the rings of Saturn, and many other significant phenomena were all in accordance with the forecasts in the astronomical yearbooks. The water vapour in the air was at its maximal state of tension, while the humidity was minimal. In a word that characterizes the facts fairly accurately, even if it is a bit old-fashioned: It was a fine day in August 1913."
Robert Musil ' Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften' (Man without Qualities)