MICHAELS: Soaking in the sun is splendid, or is it?

The summer sartorial selections of Okanaganites brings on an annual eye-roll induced headache hotter than the sun.

Summer’s heat came early, prompting Okanagan residents young and old to gleefully shed layers of clothes and wander about in nearly their natural state.

“Look, that man has no shirt on!” my three-year-old said at least a dozen times when sun-inspired fellas ran down the sidewalk basking in the splendour of the non-summer’s day that was last week.

“Some people think the clothes don’t make the man, sweetie. Those people are wrong,” I said.

OK, I just thought that.

It will be years until he has to know that the summer sartorial selections of Okanaganites brings on an annual eye-roll induced headache hotter than the sun. So I shoved my words down and they festered alongside another repressed feeling I was dealing with.

This weather … it’s kind of strange, isn’t it?

And not entirely good-strange. According to Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa Coldwells, the warm stretch came courtesy of a ridge of high pressure built up in the Baja area. It floated north, bringing with it hot, hot heat. It was an El Nino unlike anything seen since 1997.

But, of course, this apparent one-off felt a lot like an extension of the boiling planet theme that’s been dominating headlines in the last year.

A news item out of NASA in March was one that really got my attention. According to their data, it was the most anomalously hot month the Earth has seen since record keeping began — fully 1.35 degrees Celsius warmer than the average from 1951 to 1980.

People more educated on the subject than me were actually alarmed. “This result is a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases,” meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson wrote on their blog, Weather Underground.

A shocker, yet, getting warmer isn’t actually shocking. For many, according to a paper published Thursday on Nature.com — an international weekly journal of science — warmer winters and longer summers are actually considered a good thing.

“Here we show that in the United States from 1974 to 2013, the weather conditions experienced by the vast majority of the population improved. Using previous research on how weather affects local population growth to develop an index of people’s weather preferences, we find that 80 per cent of Americans live in counties that are experiencing more pleasant weather than they did four decades ago,” reads the report summary from  Patrick J. Egan  and Megan Mullin.

“Virtually all Americans are now experiencing the much milder winters that they typically prefer, and these mild winters have not been offset by markedly more uncomfortable summers or other negative changes.”

Like anything, however, the good times will end. Mullin and Egan wrote that climate change models predict that U.S. summers will eventually warm more than winters and if greenhouse gas emissions grow at an unabated rate, an estimated 88 per cent of the U.S. public will experience weather at the end of the century that is far less enjoyable.

But, how do you break through the “it’s nice outside” mindset that causes inaction? I’m hoping  that decades down the line, my little human doesn’t ask me why, despite all the many warnings, we didn’t save ourselves. I also hope Kelowna residents start wearing clothes when the sun comes out.

Kathy Michaels is a reporter with the Kelowna Capital News, a sister-paper to the Western News.



Just Posted

Young PIB man skips jail time for grad party assault

Aaron Jack-Kroeger was sentenced to a 15-month conditional sentence in Penticton’s courthouse

Angels at The Mule

Penticton nightclub introduces angel shots for safety

Honesty turns to harsher jail sentence for Penticton man

Jakob Holmes kicked a cop in the face while she was on the ground after she attempted to arrest him

Update: Fire at Osoyoos business believed to have started on lower level

A fire started on Sunday night at the East Indian Meat Shop and fruit stand

Tagger causes $30,000 damage

Penticton looking for help finding person responsible for graffiti

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Dryer explosion at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Most Read