summer

Posted by Ellen

In my humble opinion, in my humble backyard, even the hibiscus is not completely happy with life when the mercury hits 94 and the heat index is over 100.

You'd think something tropical and well-watered that only had to hold it together for a single day could bloom right through the scorching. And you'd be almost right. These flowers are still beyond awesome, at least a 20 on a scale of 1 to 10. But the heat's in charge these days, not the petals.

Air conditioning is my friend.

Posted by Ellen

Expecting more rain on Kater Street

Posted by Ellen

Posted by Ellen

Scarborough Bluffs escarpment above Lake Ontario in Toronto.

Posted by Ellen

This picture needs something to suggest the scale of what we're looking at in the University of Alaska botanical garden in Fairbanks. The person in the background isn't really close enough to the cabbage that's the center of attention here. But perhaps, if you know about those Alaska cabbages that top out at 50 or 100 pounds or suchlike, inspired by sunshine 24 hours a day, then you can freely imagine the scale and be appropriately impressed. (Hint: Think Little Shop of Horrors.)

Posted by Ellen

On July 11, 1926, the Washington Post published this publicity shot for "the Gladyse Wilbur girls," a song-and-dance troupe that did its singing and dancing, as well as its teeing off, in bathing costumes. That's Dorothy Kelly on ice, backed up by Virginia Hunter, Elaine Griggs, Hazel Brown, and Mary Kaminsky.

The show was in Keith's Theater in Washington, which may have been air conditioned by 1926. The ice in the photo is obviously intended to suggest that the Gladyse Wilbur girls can be enjoyed in cool comfort, even in the middle of the summer.

Posted by Ellen

Leaning against the family's 1955 DeSoto after a summer-vacation day with the leaping dolphins at Marineland, the California boys at right and their cousins from Texas settle back to enjoy an ice cream cone. Except for little brother at far right, who's not enjoying the moment all that much; his ice cream rolled off the cone and plopped down at his feet in the parking lot. . . .

Nothing says the 1950s like jeans rolled up at the bottom and a big DeSoto in a big parking lot.

Posted by Ellen

 

There is a webcam at the North Pole. It's a security camera, basically, keeping an eye on all the scientific instruments that monitor weather, snow, and ice conditions at the Pole. The camera is solar powered, sensibly enough, so the picture-taking begins each year in April and continues into October. Today, polar weather is dry and sunny, perfect for snapshots, but I chose to post this image instead, from July 5, because of the hint of a rainbow in the sky.

The puddles are meltwater ponded on top of the sea ice; the Arctic Ocean itself is still completely ice-covered in this photo. Since 2002, when the first webcam recorded this phenomenon throughout the Arctic summer, meltponds have first appeared as early as mid-June and as late as August. Most years, the ponds have spread to cover most of the sea ice by mid-August, before freeze-up begins again in late August. But in 2008, for reasons unknown, only a few small ponds appeared, and they'd barely begun to spread at all when freeze-up started.

So far, melting in 2010 has followed a pattern typical of the average North Pole summer--at least average for recorded North Pole meltpond history, which dates back only to 2002.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operates the webcam, has assembled the snapshots into videos, which are posted on Youtube. You can see the snapshots and access the videos from NOAA's Arctic Gallery website.

Posted by Ellen

 

During the godawful heat wave of July 1901, nobody in New York was in a good mood, and everybody was mad at the ice companies. The reason was that hot summer weather was associated with both increased demand for ice and reduced supply of well water with which to make ice at the  big ice plants in Brooklyn and the Bronx. So the ice companies started using city water to supplement well water, and on the hottest days, they used so much municipal water that taps literally ran dry all over town. New Yorkers complained loudly to their elected officials, but the ice industry also had ways of "communicating" with politicians.

Giving away a little free ice--bring your own dishpan--was a public relations gesture on the part of the ice-makers. But note that a police presence was necessary at the ice lines.

The heat wave of July 1901, with temperatures near 100 degrees, killed thousands of people. The misery was compounded by the deaths of thousands of animals, including horses pulling ambulances and fire engines, who dropped dead in their traces while responding to emergencies. Sanitation crews fell far behind in removing carcasses from the streets. Anybody who could afford to get out of town got out of town.