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Temperatures in France cross 45°C threshold for first time since records began (euronews.com)
436 points by reddotX 18 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 305 comments

I'm an Australian taking a short European getaway. We're currently in northern Italy - Veneto region.

Holy crap it's hot.

High 30s every day, and perhaps because the towns consist of stone streets and buildings, and perhaps because there's not much wind, but it feels much hotter than the equivalent temperatures we're used to in summer at home. (Edit: Others have pointed out humidity would be a factor too - perhaps the biggest. That may be the case, though at around 50%, it's not as humid as I've experienced elsewhere, including in Australia at times.)

We're heading to southern France next week, and the forecasts suggest the heat wave will still be in force then.

I mean, no complaints, we're feeling lucky to be here and are still having a great time, but boy, this is not what you expect in Europe.

It's HUMID in the Veneto - that's what does it.

BTW, if you want to get out and see some smaller towns:



And feel free to hit me up for any other suggestions and ideas; I lived in Padova for a number of years.

It's posts like yours, which makes HN such a remarkable community.

A lengthy reply by another contributor was a great help to make a Japan trip of mine most memorable.

Thank you!

You're welcome! Italy's an amazing place in so many ways... I'm always happy to help with ideas and suggestions of how to get the most out of it. There is so much there to see that it's tough to decide!

Hi can you link to this post about Japan? Thanks :)

I was interested too so started googling.

It was probably a comment by mikekchar: https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=mikekchar

According to this response by CaptainZapp (the GP) on one of his comments ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17004877 ):

  Hi Mike,
  About six month ago you helped me through the "minefield" of eating as a gajin in Japan.
  Let's call it a rousing success (it helps if you even like natto, but I digress).
  Let me state for the record that your posts are shear awesomeness in contents and the amount of information provided.
I couldn't find the original comment by "mikekchar", but when you google "site:news.ycombinator.com mikekchar japan" you find many interesting comments about Japan.

It took a bit of digging (and a look into my passport to get a hang on the time line, but here we go:


Edited to add:

A reply to Mike's comment reads as follows:

"I just wanted to reiterate how amazing your comments have been here. I honestly feel it's a disservice to you to have your words languish in soon-to-be-forgotten HN threads. I'd love to read a blog of yours, or something along those lines!"

I very much agree. It's hard to describe my appreciation for the time he took out to write it. And it was more than helpful. If you're in Japan and only slightly adventurous when it comes to food those paragraphs include everything, which you need to know about the subject:

Thanks Mike!

Thanks to eneveu's googling a copy of the comment by the original GP is here :)


To my eternal shame I still couldn't figure out how to link directly to comments. So I looked for it and googled a line. To my surprise it was the first hit.

Google's ethics my seem questionable, but you sometimes can't fault the results.

> It's HUMID in the Veneto - that's what does it.

For what it's worth, one of my best friends, who grew up in the UK but has lived in Texas the majority of his life, once told me that Venice is Europe's Houston.

This just backs up his viewpoint :)

I now have visions of gondoliers with Stetsons?!

For such weather I recommend Trento. Even though the temperature is the same as everywhere, the city itself is filled with greenery - I was there last week and comparing to e.g. Bologna it was much more bearable.

Also if you disregard the signs while climbing to Cesare Battisti's monument and go through the tunnel meant for cars(which are allowed only at certain hours) you'll experience a few minutes of much needed cooling.

Greenery definitely helps. I live in Southern California where it can get very hot and my new apartment complex is full of trees and solar panels. It almost feels cool and damp when you're in the shade even if it's 38+

Looks like trento is much much cooler than bolzano even tho bolzano is further north, (bolzano 40s in July, trento high 20s) is that true every year?

Yes. Bolzano is curiously one of the hottest cities in Italy during the summer.

Unable to tell, because my presence in Italy, though frequent, is typically short, and I usually stay in Bologna and venture no further than 150km from it - that visit to Trento was an exception.

You really want to cool down some, Cortina d'Ampezzo is nice - and of course stunningly beautiful.

I'm in the Netherlands (inland), also surprised by the heat. A few 30 deg days and it's getting uncomfortable. On top of the humidity and lack of a sea breeze, the days are much longer and nights shorter. I suspect this means that buildings, roads etc heat up more than they would in Australia. The radiant heat from a warm building can make a drastic difference to the temperature you feel.

I'm Australian, living in central Europe. I've witnessed Europe get progressively more and more warm, like I remember the Australia of my youth in terms of heat.

Only thing, its not as long. And no beach wind, but occasionally mountain storms.

Folks back home (South-WA) say its getting colder for them in winters ..

Living in southern France near italian border: i can confirm the heat wave is still strong here, even if there's places suffering more of the heatwave in the country atm.

Yes these are standard temperatures in North Italy during summer. It’s rare it goes above 37ºC tho.

So come to the north then ...

(also, australia has usually much lower air humidity, so it does not feel as hot)

Australia is quite a long place, north to south. A not-insignificant part of it is in the tropics.

Most of coastal southeast Queensland can expect 70% humidity in Feb/March. Venturing north in summer and you're into 30C+ temperatures despite heavy rain most days.

That said, dew points would probably provide a better comparison.

I am aware of that and have been there. Still, on average (I said "usually") australia is much much drier than europe, even southern europe.

Climate fluctuations are becoming more and more of an emergency. I was at a farmer conference and the main speaker spoke about how bad it is for them. Lots of crops are dying. Some GMO crops customized for this climate are able to survive if they are timed to perfection. We should be very worried about our food sources

This is the part of climate change that the media has really failed to talk about. It's always about sea level rise, but that doesn't make most people worry enough (just move or build levees). The real impact is that the climate will change everywhere. Good farmland will become bad. Areas with bad farmland will become good. And it's not easy to just shift the agriculture industry from one place to the other, and there's no control over where this happens. Also climate change doesn't care about borders. A country that has a lot of food production could suddenly have almost nothing. And even if a country is lucky and suddenly has good farmland, it's still a food crisis until that country can get their agriculture industry up and running.

Our modern rationalization for private land ownership is that it's the best means to optimize for long-term agricultural output. A shifting climate risks undoing the very American notion that success of private landowners can occur independently of the success of the larger society.

A notion that emerged out of a simple abundance of land resources that had been sustainably cultivated by indigenous societies for centuries, and a government that encouraged white settlers to a first-come-first-serve buffet.

It'll be interesting to see how it all unravels.

Except many won't find they gained good farmland if they don't have it already. They'll still have poorer colder region soils with new higher temperatures. Getting the perfect temperatures to grow new crops won't fix marginal and often thin soil. Chances are the worms, microbes and fungi won't be right for the new conditions either.

That would take ages to resolve naturally, or if we know how to shortcut, lots of coordinated effort - and no doubt yet more emissions.

If I were a large investor, I would put some money into working out how to farm food inside.

Not just a glass house, but an air tight box, with a complete ecosystem inside.

From the fungus in the soil, to bees for pollination. We need to understand how it works and how to manage it.

Indoor farming has really taken off recently. Infarm, Bowery, Plenty etc have raised a lot of money this year. Hope they continue to grow. Though i am not sure how many crops can scale to indoors and at what scale

Uhm. You will need to input some carbon into the system because otherwise the plants won't be able to obtain raw materials to grow and actually produce food.

Right, so?

Where did the plants get the carbon from to build their organic structures?

(assuming the story is true), the amount of carbon in the bottle is unchanged. Life has to destroy old structure and recycle materials to build new structure. What certainly needs to be added is energy (from the sun) to power the cycles.

In this comment's grandparent referring to researching viable, man-made, self-sustaining biomes - which should then be robust to changes in external fauna/flora and conditions, I believe the idea is either to have the human become part of the biome (i.e. the carbon in your waste gets recycled) or to add materials when food is removed in some non-intrusive way.

I imagine that in some distant future we are going to have to have near perfect recycling. Human waste, and even our bodies will have to go back into these closed ecosystems.

I wonder if the energy from the sun is enough external input to sustain human life.

It's certainly possible, since earth doesn't need much external input other from sunlight to sustain life.

The question is, how scaled-down a self-sustaining ecosystem can we create and manage, which is capable of sustaining human life?

>The real impact is that the climate will change everywhere.

Precisely. Not only everywhere but it will be a constant. Calling it climate change is probably a disservice because it seems to infer a binary (false ==> true) relationship, where it's just hotter than it was before - not that it will continually worsen as the problem compounds exponentially over time.

>Good farmland will become bad. Areas with bad farmland will become good. And it's not easy to just shift the agriculture industry from one place to the other, and there's no control over where this happens. Also climate change doesn't care about borders. A country that has a lot of food production could suddenly have almost nothing. And even if a country is lucky and suddenly has good farmland, it's still a food crisis until that country can get their agriculture industry up and running.

Agreed but it's also not like good farmland will also remain a constant, as the problem progresses.

I liken it to being in a car and you know you're driving in an heavy snow storm but you expect not to hit a patch of black-ice because... ...reasons?...

The problem is: Once you hit it (the black ice signifying crops dying and food supplies dwindling), it's already too late. You're over-correcting, under-correcting, what-have-you as you continue to drive the car by the cliff's edge, thinking it could never happen to you - when that assumption is gravely incorrect and people could effectively die because of your arrogance.

Remember "Time Enough, At Last" from The Twilight Zone? Well, we have a seed bank in Svalbard (Norway) with which to rebuild from any major calamity but it will be effectively useless, unless we plan now where those seeds should be planted in the future.

Lab-grown food products aren't at the technology level to scale to feed a predominant portion of the planet.

So, if we have no plan, is the plan just to have no plan? It's confounding that we're having this discussion in a "dark corner of the internet" because the implications are far-more-reaching and far-more-tangible than this discussion could hope to address, which saddens me.

I'm going to go have some ice cream or something...

That’s the real concern for me. I live in central Illinois, one of the best places to grow crops in the world (#1 soy producer and one of the top corn).

This year the Farmers around me planted 4 weeks late. This was due to the non-stop rain, so they couldn’t till. That’s probably the scariest in terms of food production.

> one of the best places to grow crops in the world (#1 soy producer and one of the top corn)

This makes me quite sad - the idea of one of the best places in the world to grow crops being wasted on massive monocultures of these industrial crops.

Not only that - we also subsidize these useless crops. For some reason we grow corn just to burn it in car fuel as an additive. Corn is so subsidized it also becomes cheaper to add high-fructose corn syrup to everything instead of sugar.

Most of the corn in Illinois goes to feed, stuff that can’t go to feed is turned to ethanol. 2% goes to human consumption directly.

Also soy and corn is far from useless, these are considered two of the worlds staple crops. You’d likely starve to death without farming: wheat, corn, and soy. Even if you don’t eat it directly it what enables food to be affordable.

Ah yes, the famous corn fed to cows that then bloat because they can't digest it and need antibiotics to survive.


It's the cheapest way to do it. Not saying it's the best way, but in studying history I've noticed that cheapest (particularly in food) tends to win in terms of production.

It's a real problem but I don't see how a snarky comment comes off as anything but rude or uninformative.

I guess it's only cheap because the corn is subsidized, and the societal cost of all that junk food is too finely dispersed to notice.

The carbon in that corn comes from the air. If we all burned corn fuel instead of oil found in the ground we'd be a lot better off in terms of emissions.

If we took the same amount of money which is used to subsidize corn and used it to fund research on batteries, solar cells, etc, or used the money to upgrade our power grid, or subsidized energy efficiency in homes, the money would have a far greater effect.

Yeah but what if you account for the synthetic fertilizer which is produced primarily from natural gas? And if it isn't produced from natural gas it requires near 100x as much electricity, which still currently comes from fossil fuels. If we produced all our fertilizer without natural gas we would consume the current total world's energy production.

That is incorrect. World ammonia production in 2016 was 175 million tonnes. Producing that much ammonia -- the basis for all synthetic nitrogen fertilizers -- requires about 31 million tonnes of hydrogen. At present this hydrogen is indeed mostly made from natural gas.


As of 2011, it required 50 kilowatt hours to produce a kilogram of hydrogen by electrolysis of water, or 50 megawatt hours per tonne:


That comes out to a total of 1550,000,000 megawatt hours, e.g. 1550 terawatt hours, to make 31 million tonnes of hydrogen.

World electricity consumption in 2016 was 20,863 terawatt hours:


Producing the world's synthetic fertilizer starting from electricity instead of natural gas would require about a 7.4% increase in world electricity production: (20863+1550) / 20863 = 1.074. It is true that this would benefit the climate only if the extra electricity generation were based on low-emissions sources like hydroelectricity, wind, nuclear, or solar.

On the larger point, I think that corn-to-biofuel is a very poor use of money, land, and indirect fossil fuel inputs.

I think surplus food production capacity is a good thing to subsidize in case of unexpected, sudden supply decreases. Relying on market forces to respond to such events would be too slow. That said, maybe there's a better implementation than the current one.

Are you drilling for water in Illinois? I saw a lot of these round artificial rain plants when I once travelled the midwestern states. For me it was always counter-intuitive that you have to do this in an area that is considered the bread-basket of the world.

As far as I know, irrigating crops is only a thing west of the Missouri river. (Dakotas, Nebraska, etc.)

I live in Iowa, and we definitely don't irrigate crops here. (On a mass scale at least. Specialty crops and orchards have irrigation systems set up)

I'm a lot sadder at the fact that they can't find a workaround for that.

Hard to plant in a swamp. And even if you did manage to plant, much of the crop would be in danger of drowning or rotting before it ever had a chance.

What about rice paddies?

My understanding is that for commercial rice production, the paddies are drained both for planting and before harvest. I may be wrong on that.

Either way, the machinery used for planting corn and soybeans is developed for use on relatively dry ground. And the plants themselves cannot survive submersion for long periods of time.

There is something they/we can do: vote for candidates who actually take the threat of climate change seriously.

Fighting climate change is a prisoners dilemma type problem, any country can choose to defect and pollute the commons. Just like federal issues can’t be solved by individual states, global issues can’t be solved at a country level.

Democracy doesn’t work. If this doesn’t prove it nothing will.

Which autocracy is doing better in terms of preserving the environment or combating climate change or global warming or whatever it is called today?

Some farmers voice this same concern in Spain. They also have more extreme events destroying their fields (more hail, new insects). They seem worried, although it's true that I only have access to a little subset of them.

That's one of the reasons I've been looking into aquaponics a lot recently. It's a really cool (almost) closed-loop system where fish waste feeds the vegetables. The only inputs are fish food and replacing water lost by evaporation. You get fish and vegetables as outputs.

Insect farming is also another area I'm interested in - you can eat the insects (super nutritious!) and use them as fish food too.

I think our globalized food network is very vulnerable, say to a bad year globally, and the best way to mitigate the risk is to produce as much of your own food as you can.

I know a guy that was using discarded bakery products as the fish food. Made good use of food that was otherwise destined for a landfill (I assume)

I throw that stuff in a hole in the backyard, covered with leaves.

Do those same farmers still vote highly in favor of the one (american, I've made an assumption here) political party that denies global warming is real?

I come from a agricultural small town in the north, and up there you'd think Trump was a god. This despite every single farm up there depending on illegal migrant workers to basically survive.

In my area of the midwest, not at all, the farmers are more likely to be democrats because democrats promote stable and predictable crop markets. However, even in the extremely rural areas here farmers are still a minority of the population.

Sadly they do. Somehow other issues are more important to them than this.

Farmers are typically fairly wealthy, and hate paying taxes, mainly because they pay about 10% of their land value in property taxes each year.

So no one going to comment how those Democrat politicians could scale back their taxing agenda and pull in those farmer votes?

20% of US population is in rural countries. It's not the farmers electing the Republican Party

Interestingly, I submitted this to HN: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/17/climeworks-starts-paid-... a day or two ago and it didn't make it out of the "new" bin. I signed up fora CO2 reduction subscription: https://www.climeworks.com/. Probably a very minor thing, but when I read about these kinds of massive global issues, I like to ask, "What can / should I be doing?"

I spent summer 2018 biking across Europe & everywhere I went, from Spain to Scotland, was much hotter than the climate data I looked up on Wikipedia prepared me for. It definitely felt like the climate had tangibly changed— especially if the same thing seems to be repeating this year.

I guess everyone in Europe will be moving towards installing air conditioners, and they'll need to add peaker plants to power them on hot summer afternoons. Hopefully solar & storage will be cheap enough that it isn't too bad for the climate.

The cruel bit here is that installing air conditioners substantially increases the per-capita carbon footprint which in turn will lead to a further greenhouse effect. It's a positive feedback loop with many components.

Heating a house is much more expensive than cooling down a house [1], so if avg temps rise total carbon footprint due to temperature control will most likely fall. A very small silver lining to a very shitty situation.

[1] https://www.quora.com/Why-does-it-cost-more-to-heat-househol...

That article is just saying it's cheaper to move heat than to generate it from electrical resistance. You can buy heat pumps that work both directions, allowing you to heat in the winter and cool in the summer.

My main complaint about AC and the reason we rarely use ours is that while you can heat a house very quickly, air conditioners are really only good for maintaining temperature. They have a hell of a time cooling adequately when "properly sized". So if I want to use the AC, then I have to give up on having open windows ever, which is not something I'm interested in.

If the weather is such that you need AC or heat, why would you have the windows open? Add humidity to the mix and open windows become even more problematic.

An oversized AC is going to run more if you have your windows open when it's hot out although with humidity may actually work better as it'll run long enough to pull out some moisture (latent cooling).

If the issue is around fresh air your average pre-2000 house breathes plenty with closed windows and newer homes tend to have active ventilation (e.g. energy recovery ventilators).

I feel like I must be missing something or you live in a warm-temperate climate such that a heat pump heats faster than it cools (heat pumps go way down in heating efficiency as it gets cold out and most work very poorly when it's much below 0°F).

The temperature generally swings something like 20F during the course of a 24 hour day. At night, I am quite content to have the windows open. During the day, I'm not around so why bother cooling the house. Then when I get home from work, it'll take the rest of the evening to cool off the house, at which point I might as well have just opened the windows and let everything cool off naturally.

Contrast that to the winter, where you can quite easily have a whole range of temperatures throughout the day based on being home or away and dropping the temp down at night while you sleep.

Heat pumps I'd guess work quite well over the same delta range that summer AC usually operates in (30F probably, even on the hottest days).

Beyond that, natural gas or propane is going to be much more cost effective.

Ah that makes more sense, thanks for helping me to understand the open windows viewpoint.

For me electricity is less expensive during the day (solar) and my house is well insulated so it takes fairly little to combat the heat gain during the day compared with letting the house heat soak through the day and then try to cool everything off in the evening. There's also often more humidity in summer so I'm trying to dehumidify at the same time and an adjusting AC (e.g. variable refrigerant flow or just a variable speed on the compressor) can run at lower consumption for longer to meet both needs at once.

I don't think AC is that bad. I have a tiny window air conditioner in my apartment. When I get home from work it's more than 80 degrees in there. After the AC has been on for an hour or two, it gets down to a reasonable 76 or so. It's in my bedroom so when I close the door to go to sleep, it gets much colder (probably 68).

I believe I read somewhere that a "properly sized" AC unit should be able to cool a home 2F / hour. I could be wrong on that, but my personal experience lines up with that pretty well.

If I recall correctly, global "warming" is an average and changes in temperature will increase both ways so might end up having to heat more for short period of times.

Yeah; we have our thermostat target a pretty large window. I looked at at the report for May, and it heated and cooled most days.

That doesn’t seem normal (better data now, or more fluctuations?)

Global warming is an average indeed, but moving that average for a localized area costs energy, usually in the form of carbon expenditure.

I hope that Europe doesn't ever reach the same level of insanity with regards to air-conditioning that you see in, for example, Florida. The last time I visited (admittedly 20 years ago) I remember having to walk outside of shopping malls / supermarkets for a few minutes to warm up, having been subjected to the frigid level of AC inside.

I think a big part of the "all kids do is play inside" thing people like to complain about has to do with everyone having their AC on all the time. If its hot inside and hot outside, you go play outside. If its hot outside and cool inside, you sit on your ass and look at a screen.

That’s something that can be solved by law.

Not only that. It also increases ambient temperatures, which adds to the local heat amplification already occurring in big cities due to dense concrete buildings and streets.

one saving grace is that if you couple AC with photovoltaics, you provide at least some of that power at the point of use. not much and the upfront cost is still high, but at least it's an option.

Maybe. If the average winter temperatures go up, the air conditioning will be at least partially offset by lower heating costs. Of course, there are also theories of global climate change where both the high and low extremes will increase, in which case there's a double-whammy effect.

Average winter temperatures could well go down and average summer temperatures could go up. There is no hard coupling between the two with some fixed delta, rather that extremes can get more extreme.

This is, in my humble opinion, the most important aspect to climate change.

Our entire civilization is built on the assumption/requirement that there are enough areas of land that will remain within certain atmospheric parameters for enough contiguous months to grow a lot of food. Technology has widened the atmospheric parameters a bit, and has increased the yield enormously.

Climate change is the result of more energy in the biosphere. This energy is in the process of increasing the (effective) random variabilities of all atmospheric parameters, globally.

Our atmosphere has always been a chaotic system, and when the necessary parameters weren't met for a given region for enough time, then a lot of people migrated and starved.

Adding more energy into a chaotic system tends to make it even more chaotic.

As you noted, these permutations go in both directions.

More unusual heat waves.

More unusual cold waves.

More unusual droughts.

More unusual rain/flooding.

More unusual storms, both warm and cold.

And all of these things globally.

I think there's non-trivial chance that climate change will, on average, cut world-wide food production by a substantial amount over the next two decades. If that is indeed the case, it will be a lot of downs and ups, just as we're seeing now, but, slowly, more and more severe.

You'd need extreme temperatures for both, though. Remember that much of Europe is close to the sea, that buffers both in winter and in summer. Continental climate doesn't really begin until you hit Eastern Europe.

For the last few years, we've had pretty mild winters. This last one, I didn't use my radiators at all because the house is very well insulated and the temperatures didn't drop that low.

Well but that would stand in conflict with the greenhouse-effect, or does the C02 go away in winters?

An easier way to understand this whole climate debate as 'a rise in temperature means there is more energy available in the atmosphere'. That energy can have many effects. It can cause local heating, but it can also move large airmasses around and if those airmasses are colder than the normal for that region the movement will cause a huge swing in temperature.

This is one of the main reasons the average 2.5 degree celsius change (which on an absolute scale would not make a huge difference in the first place, most people would hardly notice) is such a huge affair.

It can cause local variations that are a very large multiple of the 2.5 degrees, much like a heatpump does not require a whole lot of energy to move a much larger amount of energy around.

The greenhouse effect requires sunlight to work. In the winters, the poles do not get any sunlight. The cold air from the poles will travel to make other places colder.

The greenhouse effect does not require sunlight to work. What matters is how much of the energy radiated from the surface of the earth reaches space and how much is reflected back down. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

This is true, but what with sunlight being by far the largest factor in energy being radiated back from the surface of the earth you can safely conclude that in practice the greenhouse effect is to a large extent resulting in solar incident radiation being trapped. In other words: without sunlight nobody would be worrying about the greenhouse effect. In fact, without sunshine we'd love the greenhouse effect, reducing the albedo of the planet as a whole would be the only way to survive as a species (likely we'd fail).

Well, air-conditioning is the one electric consumption which can be perfectly driven by solar energy. Solar production capacity is expanded constantly and in Germany we are already at the level where during sunny days, solar can drive like 40% of the grid.

Carbon is obviously a problem longer term but immediately, air conditioners generate heat.

A city full of air conditioners is that much hotter. We're ploughing energy (even renewable) into the air and that's making summer that much hotter. We need to stop.

It would really be better if we promoted more passive solar design instead of more AC.

We used to rely a lot more heavily on vernacular architecture. It is possible to design a space that needs little in the way of active heating or cooling to stay comfortable.

I don't know why this isn't more widely promoted. I sometimes feel like I'm the only one who has thought of this obvious answer and I have no influence in the world, so I'm just howling into the void of the internet to occasionally comment on it on HN where it often then gets dismissed on some excuse or other.

France actually enforces a law whereby every new construction need to be well insulated (rt2012 at the moment). To give an idea, to comply to this rule you need at least 15cm of styrofoam on the outside walls of your house. The next rules are coming next year, rt2020, where the construction need to be energy positive. So you will need solar panel, or heating system which give more kWh than it consumes.

Moreover there are funds available when you want to improve the thermal efficiency of your old house. I got my paid half of the bill to get a new heating system for example.

We have similar rules here in Germany. I live in a fairly modern, well isolated house. To comply with all these requirements, we build more and more houses with floor heating here. It's easier to efficiently heat that way using heat pumps, for instance. I got the impression that on our upper floor the heat is so well conserved that we basically aren't able to cool the house down anymore during these heatwaves. It takes about three days after the heatwave has passed to get back to normal levels even when all windows are open all the time and a fan blows air through the whole building. That's a real problem.

Well that's the drawback, it is designed to keep the cold/heat outside the house, but once you let the heat inside in summer, you have a hard time to cool it down. It really is designed for winter.

What i don't get in these rules, is that they requires the house to be sealed, and void of air leaks. As it is sealed, there is no natural air flow anymore and you need to install a system which regenerates the air: it gets the air from outside and vent it inside. It just blows my mind.

I find it so unnatural that i only buy old houses, where I am free to choose the insulating materials and techniques. I am against these petrol based materials which release chemicals in your house.

Yes, you describe exactly the kind of house I live in. The problem with the upper floor is that there's a skylight which you can't shade. The sun can shine on the floor (with the floor heating underneath) and warm it up all day. You don't even need to open a window to let the heat in.

The air ventilation system uses a heat exchanger to keep the heat in during winter. I am still not sure as to what it does during summer. It surely doesn't feel like it makes it actively hotter, but it also doesn't cool it down.

We are required to have this system running all the time (on the lowest level). Otherwise the house would begin to mold quickly as there is absolutely no natural air flow when the windows are closed. In fact, I once deactivated the system because of bad air quality outside. It was unbearable within about two hours inside. It's really a bit weird, but on the other hand, I like that I don't have to think about opening the windows to ventilate the house and it helps keep the heating costs low during winter.

Reads both your comments. Scratches head. Wonders if you are for or against what I'm saying.

> It is possible to design a space that needs little in the way of active heating or cooling to stay comfortable.

I get your confusion. I was actually reacting to this part of your comment specifically. I am for what you are saying. I just wanted to mention that modern buildings aren't always designed like that. In fact, where I live, houses seem to be increasingly designed to only keep the heat in, not let it out — as rightly pointed out above. That's a problem. We basically can't stay comfortable in summer sometimes. It's not pleasant sleeping on the upper floor during a heatwave and there's little we can do other than buy an AC (which we won't).

As a sidenote: our company just finished a new building which is designed in a similar way, but has active cooling via the heat pump/floor heating system. I hope that will work better than what we have in our private home.

Thank you for your comments herer.

There are myriad things that impact both actual temperature and perceived temperature. I don't even try to talk about any of the more "woo" sounding things that impact perceived temperature.

I'm just talking about well established design principles that were a time-honored tradition globally until recent decades popularized throwing money at the problem, using insulation and adding AC to shittily designed buildings. And I get nothing but grief most of the time.

Tempted to start blog number umpteen to bitch about this in specific. I'm calling it "While The World Burns." Maybe if people here keep pissing me off, it will actually get content and traction and yadda.

Historically, people were only interested in rubber necking at what a goddamned social train wreck waiting to happen I was. Maybe I can harness that bullshit for a change instead of trying to avoid it. Swim with the current, not against it.

Would you care to expand ? I know that there are architectural trick to improve the heat management, for example i plan to plant a tree which will grow big enough to make shade on my window during summer.

But personally, I did not see yet an old building in Europe which is both warm in winter and cold in summer jusy by itself. The new insulation materials are really good now, there is no comparison with old techniques. My parents house is 200 years old, made of a wooden frame and brick. It is incredibly cold in winter, so cold that we need to burn wood as central heating is not powerful enough.

Here are some resources to read up:



Given increased heat from global warming, we can also borrow techniques from places like Mexico and the Middle East for cooling a house using air flow. For example:



We've been doing this around the world since well before we invented AC. We just seem to have conveniently "forgotten," never mind that these techniques are actually still in widespread use.

You might like [1] and others in that vein. The passive house movement seems like a big deal in a few parts of the US (e.g. Northeast and some parts of the West coast). AC ends up being an important part of these homes as they're sealed so well that human-caused humidity (both direct and from showers, cooking etc) needs to be managed. You can get by with the equivalent of a small window unit for a 1500 square foot+ house though.

[1]: https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/

> It takes about three days after the heatwave has passed to get back to normal levels even when all windows are open all the time and a fan blows air through the whole building. That's a real problem.

I've experienced similar issues in the UK. It's a worse problem than being cold in winter - I can just wear more layers. Not being able to cool your house is frustrating as you can stick your hand out the window and it feels cool, but you're sweating buckets at 2am

You could get yourself some US-style porches.

One of the reason the US is porch-crazy is because historically it was too damn hot here. Rather than trying to keep the house cool, you said to hell with it, and spent as much time on the porch as possible, even sleeping on it when the house was too hot at night.

In the Deep South, deep wrap around porches also allowed you leave windows open on two sides of the house for a cross breeze, even in very rainy/stormy weather.

They still sleep on porches in India and "porch sleeping" was common across the US until not that many decades ago, even in New York City where they would sleep on the fire escape or roof in hot weather.

But that doesn't solve the heat problem for everyone who's living in a house that's already been built, and I don't think you're suggesting to rebuild all the existing housing to have passive cooling.

It would be great to see this type of preparation put into new builds.

But that doesn't solve the heat problem for everyone who's living in a house that's already been built

I have a serious medical condition. Years ago, while getting divorced and crammed into a single bedroom with my two teenaged sons fir nearly a year in Georgia, we discovered that getting rid of all cardboard boxes from food items stored in our room reliably and consistently dropped the temp 5 degrees Fahrenheit, lowered the humidity and stopped the invasion of roaches. I am routinely told I'm full of shit for telling that story. It's merely an anecdote.

I've lived without upholstered furniture for years. I currently have no carpeting and no mattresses. We remain strict about removing cardboard and papers from our rental.

I'm in a hundred year old building with no AC. When things get hot, other tenants open their window and door trying to get a cross breeze and are clearly miserable. We just open the window. Once in a great while, I will go run errands or spend time at the library to reduce the number of bodies in our cramped room from three to two to bring down the temperature in our room.

I've lived this way more than a decade. I'm an environmental studies major who wanted to be an urban planner as my dream career.

I get ignored, mocked, dismissed, attacked, treated like I'm stupid and crazy and have no idea whatsoever what the hell I'm talking about.

The world treated me with potentially deadly callous disregard while I was deathly ill and homeless. Now its bullshit misogyny and classism is causing it to continue to turn a deaf ear to suggestions that actually work.

While the world burns and wrings its hands I get on with making my life work. It's increasingly hard for me to believe people actually want to solve this. If they wanted to solve this, they would jump on such anecdotal evidence, do some research to confirm it and start spreading the word.

I've been on HN nearly a decade. I appear to be the only woman to have ever spent time on the leader board here. Men here routinely get told they must be smart if they have a lot of karma. I routinely get told I'm a fool obsessed with worthless internet points and shut up.

You don't have to rebuild the entire world. Just make some lifestyle tweaks.

But it won't happen because I'm a woman and everyone wants to explain to me why I shouldn't worry my silly little head about such things and I simply don't understand how anything works.

I don't understand your comment, because I don't store "cardboard boxes from food items" and don't know of anyone who does. I may have some cardboard in my recycling bin from Amazon packages occasionally, but the food I buy isn't stored in cardboard.

It's also unclear what your comment is railing against exactly. Cardboard, or upholstered furniture and rugs? Are you saying that your home is somehow cooler because everyone else is storing lots of cardboard? How much cardboard does one have to store in order to elevate indoor temperatures?

Of course, I can understand about living into a temporary apartment with moving boxes stacked everywhere. Cardboard is an excellent insulator, so obviously living in a tiny room insulated with cardboard is going to bring up the temperature. Not a common situation, though.

You don't ever buy:

Cans of soda in cardboard boxes and leave them in the boxes?

Cereal in cardboard boxes and leave it in the box until it used up?

Cookies, crackers, etc in cardboard boxes and store them in their original cardboard box until you are done consuming them?

Cake mixes, instant meal prep items, etc in cardboard boxes and leave them in the box (that has the instructions on the outside) until you are ready to actually cook it?

I mean, it's possible to just buy meat and produce and so forth and never bring home a food item in a cardboard box, but I'm quite shocked to hear that you never buy such and none of your friends do either. That seems statistically unlikely to me if you are an American or live in most developed countries.

No, I don't eat cereals (though I sometimes make my own granola), cookies, crackers, cake mixes or instant prep meals. I try to stay healthy and not consume heavily processed foods. I make cakes and meals from scratch by hand. I do have dry pasta that comes in thin cardboard containers, but that's the only thing I can think of. Thinking about my girlfriend's house or our friends' houses, they don't hoard cardboard either. We're all in the US. I also lived in Europe for many years, where this also didn't happen.

But that's all immaterial, because I don't at all buy the argument that the average person would hoard so much cardboard that it would have an effect on indoor temperature. So I still don't understand your comment.

Cardboard isn't the only thing. Carpets, curtains, upholstered furniture, cheap pressed wood furniture, shelves full of dead tree books, walk-in closets full of clothes, stacks of towels and bedding etc all do the same thing.

"When [hay] is baled at moistures over 20% mesophilic bacteria release heat causing temperatures to rise between 130°F and 140°F. If bacteria die and bales cool, you are in the clear, but if thermophilic bacteria take over temperatures can raise to over 175°F,”...

Most wet bales catch fire within six weeks of baling, Hartschuh says.


Compost heaps also give off heat. So we know -- and this is well established fact, no need to listen to my "nutty" fucking personal anecdotes -- that rotting materials give off heat. In fact, they can give off so much heat as to start fires. So this is not an insubstantial amount of heat.

I got to see firsthand under fairly extreme conditions how this impacts comfort at home. I was sharing a single bedroom with my two teenaged sons. I had little control over what was in that bedroom. It was supposed to be a temporary situation. It was filled to the gills with furniture, carpet, blah blah blah.

Just coming home and taking all the sodas and snacks out of the cardboard box consistently dropped the temp by 5 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a thermometer in the window, so we were able to check.

After two or three incidents where we removed all the cardboard boxes from the room and the room went in short order from unbearably hot and muggy to comfortable enough where we could sleep, it became our policy to pull everything out of cardboard boxes and trash them as soon as we brought home groceries.

I currently live in SRO. It's more space than when we shared a bedroom at a relative's house and we have more control over our space here than we did there. We still remove bakery cookies from the cardboard box when we get it home and similar. We don't keep mail sitting around. All junk mail is promptly trashed.

We don't have a trash can. When we were living in a three bedroom, two bath apartment, we noticed that food sitting in the trash similarly raised the temperature in the house and also made us feel ill because me and my oldest son have a compromised immune system. It became our policy to take trash out promptly following meals. We still do that and we do not own a nasty ass trash can.

But I generally don't bother to go into all the details because I am consistently given absolute shit by the entire goddamn internet and treated like a total fucking idiot rather than having people ask for more details or express genuine curiosity or whatever. It's always "That's stupid." or "That doesn't make sense." Or "I don't believe you." or similar.

Meanwhile, people are dying in heat waves, but, meh, actually figuring out something useful isn't a priority. No. Treating some poverty stricken woman like absolute shit and like she couldn't possibly know any fucking thing of any actual use -- that our priority.

The worldn't isn't going to hell in a hand basket because there aren't any solutions. It's doing so because people who currently have money and so forth need to cater to their ego far more than they want solutions.

Were you able to test whether this was indeed heat generated by these items, vs their simple mass acting as a thermal reservoir?

On a typical summer day where I live, it cools down significantly at night and many open their windows to cool down. The daytime indoor temperature is later strongly influenced by this overnight cooling effect. Now, a bare room cools down very quickly, while a room full of mass will retain the heat of the day for much longer. Classic passive solar design working the wrong way round, if you will.

Mattresses, bedding, & cardboard all absorb moisture from the air, while food scraps are moist by themselves, so each could retain an appreciable amount of heat. They could even be contributing additional humidity if they absorb moisture during the hot day & release it in the cool night.

I was able to check a thermometer and note a consistent 5 degree Fahrenheit difference compared to before removing them and after removing them. I was able observe that the room not only felt less hot, it felt less muggy. I was able to observe that the large roaches endemic to Georgia stopped showing up when the cardboard was removed.

I don't believe their mass taking up space explains it. I believe them giving off heat like a rotting compost pile is vastly more likely.

But feel free to make me look like idiot by testing it under lab conditions all scientifically in a way that I was in no position to create as a desperately poor divorced single mom just trying to get to sleep at night by removing the cardboard from my room because it actually helped.

I didn't say it didn't work. I was attempting to express some curiosity about the mechanism of action. It can be useful to know why it works, so I was curious.

And I answered your question to the best of my ability -- in spite of your track record of first attacking and dismissing me elsewhere before asking questions about the mechanism.

I get ignored, mocked, dismissed, attacked, treated like I'm stupid and crazy and have no idea whatsoever what the hell I'm talking about.

I had to read your comment four times to develop half an idea of what you were trying to say. You could be very intelligent with something valuable to contribute to the discussion- but if your point is not made clear, people will struggle to see that.

Oh, sure, I have nearly 45k karma on HN between my two accounts, but I'm merely inarticulate. It couldn't possibly be that I sound incoherent at the moment because I'm frothing at the mouth frustrated at the bullshit I constantly have to put up with here. That couldn't be it.

I can't have a conversation with someone who is self-professedly frothing at the mouth & incoherent with rage. I'm just not that good, & I'll own that. So I guess all I can do is wish you the best of luck.

You could up your game and simply say nothing rather than continuing to poke at someone who is obviously upset so you can get in additional digs about how it is all their fault they fail, no one owes them anything and their expectation of being met halfway socially is clearly ridiculous.

If you own your house and need a new roof then installing one that reflects sunlight will really drop the interior temperature during the summer.

> the climate data I looked up on Wikipedia

For travel abroad, I got into the habit of checking https://weatherspark.com. They have very well done charts that give a really good idea of how it's like "over there".

(Just a satisfied user.)

Last summer was quite an outlier...Europe was extremely dry and hot. So much so that previously unknown archaeological sites became apparent when all the grass died.

Last year was definitely exceptional in Scotland - it didn't rain for about two months - usually two weeks of sun without rain would be a 'heatwave'.

Mind you - earlier this week it was 12C and raining here - so back to proper summer weather.

45°C in the desert or in the arid climate of the middle east is very bearable. 45°C in Europe is so terrible because of our high humidity. The more humid it is the less effective sweating is, and when the outside temperature is above ~37°C sweat is the only way we can cool our body to stay alive.

Having lived in Dubai for the last 6 years - believe me there is nothing dry about the summer heat here. 45c and over 90% humidity regularly.

That would imply a wet-bulb temperature of over 40 C, which shouldn't be survivable. Does everyone spend all their time indoors? What if there's a power outage?

You'd have to do it the old way, find habitations with think walls, ventilate during the night and keep the air relatively cool during the day. That's mostly how we still do it in many parts of southern Europe where were AC still isn't very popular in individual homes.

Of course Dubai's skyscrapers wouldn't be very well suited to this method so yeah, they'd have a problem in this situation. I've been there during summer and merely standing outside is very tough on the system. Of course as a wealthy European that was only a mild inconvenience as you move between the overcooled mall and the SUV. Now if you're one of these modern slave workers coming from poorer countries and tasked with digging a ditch outside or something like that, it's probably a different story...

On that topic I found this talk about passive ventilation at the Royal Institution absolutely fascinating


Paul Beckwith did a video about Iran and other areas where temperatures exceeded survivable wet-bulb levels. There is an upper-limit based on thermodynamics. https://kevinhesterdotlive.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/heat-...

Yes, you must remain indoors in non-evaporative air-conditioning, dehumidification or near sources of cool water, or you die.

Power outages? People can die.

> you must remain indoors in non-evaporative air-conditioning, dehumidification or near sources of cool water

You can also have high-mass buildings that you shut up during the day and ventilate over night. This is the traditional approach, and works well if the night temperature is a lot lower than the day.

> What if there's a power outage?

And this is why the existence of Dubai is a testament to the hubris of humanity.

Aren't there cities in Texas that similarly hot and humid? To my recollection, contemporary architecture and city planning throughout Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE are all derived from that of Texas.

You did say contemporary which is certainly after when my house was designed, but even my 1930s-era house in Houston, TX was designed for the heat. In fact at least contemporary residential has gone the way of highly insulated homes meant to keep heat and moisture out and breathe as little as possible. Which works 99% of the time until a hurricane takes out power and air conditioning with it. Then they are sweaty, hellish boxes.

Houston didn't really take off until the invention of air conditioning but even when my house was built people engineered around it. When first purchased my house had a number of shade trees because blocking sunlight is extremely effective. Every room with the exception of one bathroom has multiple screen windows to facilitate natural airflow through the house. That one bathroom still has two doors and a window to help with air movement.

In addition there is a whole house fan that draws air from throughout the house to the attic. This helps both exchange air when people want air movement which is cooling and also helps move heat out of the attic which is coming from a blazing hot roof. The attic itself is nearly the same height as the floor below it and each end of the attic has huge slatted exhaust ports. They are easily four feet wide and seven or eight feet tall. They are needed because the whole house fan can draw hard enough to break a window, or so I've been told.

Although the house was designed to breathe and move air because it was all they could do to combat the heat these days I shut all the windows and run the air conditioner. I may be a fan of the architecture but I'm not a fan of the lifestyle. My friends in sealed houses have much lower energy bills, but if my power fails I can at least open the windows.

Yeah god forbid a bunch of people who happened to be born in the desert want to enjoy the fruits of civiliation.

They enjoy it so much, they invite millions to their homes to enjoy it together!

(The population is composed of just 15% native residents, with the remaining 85% being composed of expatriates, see http://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/dubai-populati...)

If Las Vegas is the platonic fruit of civilization, then yeah!

Is there a way to semi accurately calculate wet bulb temperature based only on temperature and humidity? I tried searching this before, and it gave kinda vague formulas with dewpoints...

You wrap a wet piece of cloth around your thermometer.

At 100% relative humidity the wet-bulb temperature will be equal to air temperature. So it depends if 90% humidity is semi-accurate enough for you.

Dubai (and most of the other Emirates) are different because they're on the coast. If you go inland (e.g. AlAin or something I believe) then humidity should go down.

I've never been there specifically, but typically the humidity goes down but the temperature goes up. Sometimes way up.

And at night it should go down quite a bit :)

True! Unlike the humid coast where 12 noon and 12 midnight often aren't that much different.

The south of France is dry and the area where these records are broken is semi arid in summer.

Which is good because it would be lethal otherwise.

Trust me, it’s not dry here right now. It feels more like Panama than Perigord. We’ve been hovering around 38-40 at 80%+ humidity a few days now, and sweating isn’t effective. Thankfully the house has meter thick stone walls, so is as cool as a cave inside - but it’s unbearable outside.

These conditions are lethal, for plenty - the very old and the very young tend to suffer the most.

I grew in the area (Provence) and we didn't have air-con at home and in cars and we managed fine at 35C in summer.

The thing is that traditional recipes are being lost. Like you mention, old houses have thick stone walls and shutter on windows: In summer you close the shutters and open the windows to create airflow and it's fresh.

These days it's all glass patio doors and you cook... And then people install air con to compensate.

In general you're right but that only works well in the long term if the temperature drops during the night to be able to keep the inside temperature cool enough for the day.

Last summer in Provence when we had the heat wave that lasted for weeks you had to live in a grotto to get a fresh atmosphere.

Yeah - we’ve always used the shutters to regulate the temperature inside - my mother has lived here thirty years. As you say, it’s when it starts to get cumulative that it stops working. The days have been touching 40, the nights 30 - I’ve been doing astronomy in shorts and a t-shirt - feels weird. The upshot is that at night, the walls radiate the day’s heat - normally, this is welcome, as it smooths out the daily temperature cycle (and provides an infrared lamp for cold astronomers) - but right now it’s just slowly getting hotter and hotter on the southern end of the house, as it’s absorbing more than it’s radiating.

And yeah, we stumble around in the dark and head out into the anvil of the sun. Even the insects have given up and shut up. Hot in the height of summer is normal here - but this is both early in the year, and those few degrees make a big difference at high humidity - above/below body temperature. I’ve been more comfortable than I am right now in 55 degrees in a desert, as in the bone-dry air, sweating works remarkably well, as long as you stay hydrated.

Are ceiling fans used in Europe or at least where you live. As it could be an opportunity for someone to import and sell ceiling fans in European cities where there is hot humid summer with no breeze suddenly as previously no market for them.

Yes, ceiling fans are plenty popular, from Eastern Europe to England.

Never saw one...

I curse the previous owners of our house that installed the veranda.

It's an old house with thick stone walls and traditional shutters but all that glass is making it unbearable right now in Marseille.

Thinking I'm gonna tear it down before next year.

The global climate is demonstrably getting hotter. Not that what you've described isn't more appropriate, but old recipes aren't going to address the bigger challenge of a 5 deg F temp increase or greater. Provence won't be able to grow food.

As the averages move it's going to become the case that France needs the traditional recipes of Tunisia, Britain of Southern France and so on...

The domino effects rapidly get ridiculous.

> We’ve been hovering around 38-40 at 80%+ humidity a few days now

Where is this? The place referenced in the article, Villevieille, is currently 43C and 20-40%ish humidity[1]. Googling hasnt brought up anywhere higher. (Obviously temps were higher during the day)

When there's high daytime temps and low nighttime temps, my understanding is there isn't high humidity - humidity levels would get above 100% (100% relative humidity, that is) and leave the air as precipitation.

[1] https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=current+weather+Villev... (take your pick of results)

Perigord Noir, we’re surrounded by dense and extensive forest here. It isn’t cooling down much at night - 8-10 degree dip.

As to the moisture, you’re right, it does go somewhere - dew. I’ve been contending with water dripping off the telescope there’s so much of it - and when the sun comes up, it all evaporates and sits around until the sun sets and it starts condensing again.

Edit: today, it isn’t evaporating. 1pm, 34 and rising, but not hot enough to add more moisture to the air yet. Normally, there’d have been a storm to break the cycle.

Makes for surprisingly good astronomical seeing, however - very stable atmosphere.

That's quite far from the areas mentioned here (Bouches-du-Rhones, Vaucluse, Gard), which are not humid at all in summer.

Hot AND humid is really the worst...

I’ve come to the conclusion that the deliberate ignorance of climate change/greenhouse effect/global warming is being fueled by deep-pockets in the fossil fuel industry, who are hacking the current weaknesses in democracies to sow doubt and confusion, and to sap political will (just as other hostile groupings are doing). The GFC also happened just as schemes like carbon pricing started taking hold, and they ended up losing momentum, which hasn’t been regained.

The UK is a notable exception because Thatcher broke the coal industry for ideological reasons but I don’t think countries like the US will be able to take meaningful action. Heck, a major reason for Australia’s recent election outcome was the question of a major coal mine being granted permission to open.

It’s either going to take major regional climate changes in some part of the world that the media cares about (Europe or North America) before political and public opinion shift decisively enough for meaningful action to take hold. By then it will probably be too late, except for those who are wealthy enough to buy their way into places which benefit from climate change. The rest of us will be left to fend for ourselves.

I'm taking a mooc on climate change denial 1, and creating confusion is listed as one of the main reasons for denial. For example, when faced with scientific consensus about tobacco causing cancer, the industry invested a lot in creating doubt - doubt makes change stop or slow down.

Personal biases are also a big factor. Eg: a conservative is more prone to believe global warming when presented an article about "free market solutions with nuclear power" than "government legislation against co2", which are just different takes on the same underlying truth.

1 https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:UQx+Denial101x+1T2...

For Americans: this village in the south of France is at about 43.8 degrees north latitude, about the same latitude as the Great Lakes.

I mean... having grown up in the Great Lakes region (Chicago). Summer is always 30C (85F) to 41C (105F) with 50% to 100% humidity and little wind some days.

We also get down to -30C (-20F) with high winds in the winter.

Welcome to the Midwest!

That being said, surprised this is happening in France. I recommend no one move to a place like this for the weather...

I'd say there's a big difference between 41 and 45 and you're also greatly exaggerating the temperatures in Chicago if you include 105 as a typical high.

It's hit 105 a couple of times over the course of a hundred years. The hottest temperature since 2013 is 97. The average daily high in the hottest month is less than the bottom range of 85-105- it's 84.1 in July.

Hitting 45C is a big deal

Chicago is typically 5-10F degrees cooler than the surrounding area due to the lake effect. Where I live now (central Illinois, 90mi outside Chicago) we hit 105F at least a few times a summer. Usually, with 100% humidity - making it feel like 120F or so.

In either case, I’m not belittling the current heat wave in France. Just saying those temperatures are within “normal” for the Midwest. Which was the grandfathers comment. I agree with the few degree difference being a lot, especially if sustained.

The number I most like to keep an eye on is "days over 100 degrees". It's both important for agriculture and a good measure of how miserable a place is.


I lived for 15 years in Illinois and people would be freaking out if it got to 45C. For context 113F (~45C) looks to be the highest temperature ever recorded in Peoria (which is in central Illinois). The average high there in the hottest month (July) is only 86F (30C). Even in Illinois this would break temperature records (not to mention that the temperatures I quoted are also a fair bit south of the latitude they said).

Edit: Honestly the Midwesterners who would take that heat the best would probably be Minnesotans as it would be a great excuse to be on all of those lakes they are always telling me about.

Yes, but you have air conditioning in Chicago, and can pretty much live your life without stepping out into the swamp/blizzard. Because this weather is unusual here, very few people have air con, so there isn’t much escape short of standing under a cold shower.

I don't think he was implying that the situation in France isn't bad. He was just correcting the idea of The Great Lakes having cool summers.

> Yes, but you have air conditioning in Chicago

I'm from the Great Lakes area, and barely anyone there has air conditioning. It's considered a luxury.

Is this true of offices or other businesses in Europe as well?

Most, yes. Plenty of shops are air conditioned, but unless you’re in a big modern office in a big city, air conditioning is unlikely. Ours used to turn into a sweat-box in the summer - couldn’t install air conditioning even had we wanted to.

Up until recent years, the reality has been that it just hasn’t been necessary - you might have had a few days a year when you wished you had it.

Europe has far milder weather than the States due to the gulf stream. While New York (40 degrees north) can get a foot or two of snow dumping several times a year, Rome (41 degrees north) gets an inch or two once or twice a century.

Bergen, Norway is at roughly the same latitude as the small city of Whitehorse, in Canada's Yukon Territory. Bergen is rainy and barely gets below freezing in the winter. Meanwhile, Whitehorse in winter ranges between -15 and -30 degrees C.

If climate change seriously disrupts the gulf stream, much of northern Europe is in serious trouble.

Visualization of Earth oceanic currents:


Stick around to play with the other options in the hamburger menu in the lower left.

Thanks for sharing that, I notice they have an overlay for ocean temperature as well, so you can visualise both the heat flows and absolute temperatures on the same map: https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/surface/currents...

Wow, that's an amazing site that will drain hours of time

Rome is rather far away from the gulf stream. Isn't it more that if there is wind from the north over Europe, Italy is mostly shielded by the Alps and other mountain ranges?

For the record France has predominant winds from the sea which is supposed to apply a cooling effect to the land. The more you go inside the land the warmer it gets on almost every continent for this very reason. The sea has a strong cooling effect but it's just not enough anymore.

Well that makes sense. It's crazy hot in Michigan too.

I was shocked when I recently learned that the vast majority of Europe is at a higher latitude than New York.

The way maps are usually shown makes you think New York is up there with Sweden.

Yep, Florida is in Sahara and all of US outside Alaska is south of Paris. There's a nice visualisation of this at https://i.imgur.com/yIe8gWy_d.jpg?maxwidth=6400

Good reason to own a globe.

Or Google Earth.

"2015 European heatwave"

I remember that one, it coincided with high air pollution: so much that one evening while leaving work, I realized that the Eiffel tower, quite close to the workplace, was barely visible in a haze of pollution. Also that heatwave, compared to the current, was made worse by a lack of wind, as far as I remember.

When higher temperatures have you down, just remember the conclusion on the final page of a buried 1980 report on climate change from the American Petroleum Institute: "At a 3% per anum growth rate of CO₂, a 2.5°C rise brings world economic growth to a halt in about 2025"

> According to the European Environment Agency, 2018 was among the three warmest years on record in Europe.

The five hottest summers in Germany since we have reliable temperature records have been 2008, 2010, 2003, 2016 and 2002. This year also also going strong already.

"reliable" is the means by which all previous records are dismissed. makes it easy to forget the 30s in America or that in 1947 France was close to 44C in some areas.

always watch when they start adding new terms to dismiss history.

With reliable I mean since 1600 or so.

this is what the oil industry in USA had to say about CO2 in 1980:






just saying

On the last page. Maybe they should have led with this:


Suppose the US oil industry had not engaged in science denial then. Does this somehow mean that the rest of the world's emissions would now be at the level they need to be?

Assuming that this document is authentic and the projections are valid, how are you personally dealing with this information?

And they did shit all about it

That's not quite fair, they funded the climate denial movement.

From the report:


I guess we know what sort of discounting factor they applied.

>The year-to-date globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.68°F above the 20th century average of 42.8°F. This value was also the third highest for January–May in the [in the 1880–2019] record.

source: https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/global-climate-201905

Spain and the south of France will be bad. And, Spain is already desertifying like crazy and climate models show it's screwed long-term. I would expect climate refugees leaving the Iberian peninsula in greater numbers soon, farmers in Spain are already leaving (I saw a docu by Journeyman Pictures on Spanish olive orchards dying and being abandoned).

Climate refugees leaving Spain? That must be the reason why retired Europeans buy a house in Spanish coasts...

Yes, climate change is impacting how we live in Spain... but please don’t underestimate how humans can adapt and modify our environment... we have been doing it here for 2500 years. Romans digging to extract gold, Kings cutting forest to build ships (and today are deserts), seas of plastic nowadays to feed Europe of vegetables all seasons...

Even under a heavy heat wave like this, the impact will be much higher in other countries; because we are already use to it. The news about France are more scary than Spain’s.

I live in the south of Spain and I've never seen or heard of anything like that. Please get off the news, it's bad for you.

This is from 2018 but has good advice on what to do during a heatwave and how our bodies react

Why some people suffer during heatwaves:


How much are we all going to have to suffer before our governments actually take constructive action on the climate. Not to mention personal action as well.

A lot. Even if we start now, it will be a long time before our actions have any effect. And since we don't start now, and probably won't soon, again, a lot I'm afraid.

Our actions are just going to slightly reduce the rate at which things get worse. No matter how much energy transition we do in the developed world, things will continue to worsen. Even if we outright banned all combustion overnight, things would still get hotter due to feedback loops, especially while the methane still exists for the next century or two.

Don't give up so quickly. Where there's a will there's a way. I am not saying that it is likely going to be pleasant (as indicated above), but I don't think it's the right thing to just call this unsolvable. It's certainly a huge project, maybe the biggest mankind ever faced, but still we need to tackle it, right?

Having said that, I believe you are right that reducing CO2 output is most likely not going to cut it anymore (if that is even possible at all). But there might be other ways to slowly reduce the carbon levels in the atmosphere.

Whether it's possible to do something short term (effective within decades), yes, I also highly doubt that.

> Don't give up so quickly.

Some of use have been screaming about the bloody thing for 30 years. Now the car is crashing into the wall. It's too late to steer right or left. Bracing for impact is the best we can do.

> but I don't think it's the right thing to just call this unsolvable.

Making our peace with what could have been is often the only way to salvage what can be and prepare for real-world scenario, aka worst-case scenario regarding climate change.

While I share your frustration to a degree, I think what you say might signal to other people that what they do now doesn't matter anymore. This might make the situation even worse, which isn't necessary IMO.

We obviously already have a feedback loop that doesn't act in our favor. While it's surely a good idea to start preparing for the worst, I think it's not a good idea to add to the problems by spreading hopelessness.

_iiu1 17 days ago [flagged]

Indeed. There are still plenty of people spreading doubt and nonsense about the climate emergency not being real or not being caused by our industrial-scale burning of stuff for "energy".

We unequivocally NEED to stand behind a singular message:

1) it IS our activities causing it

2) we can and should curtail these activities IMMEDIATELY

3) while we can't avoid the effects "in the pipleline", we can prevent further effects from piling up.

4) number 3 is our duty to the children and their children, it's our legacy.

Thank you for your comments. I was about to tear up from feeling hopeless.

Even discounting the feedback loops, an energy transition only in the developed world would do very little.

_iiu1 17 days ago [flagged]

be prepared for rich nations/people to aid poor ones.

there can be no winners in such a disaster, let's stop jostling for position.

(We, the USA, are literally the only unilateralist nation with regards to this issue. We are an outlier, some would say a criminally negligent outlier. Time to make up for past misdeeds!)

_iiu1 17 days ago [flagged]

Lead by example. Time for global solidarity. Time for international accords, accords that are much more ambitious than the Paris agreement that the USA unilaterally pulled-out of under Trump.

"but mom, he's doing it worse/also!" is not a mature response to the single biggest threat facing humanity that has ever appeared in our known history.

the question is how long do we have to suffer until we elect a government standing for a no nonsense approach to climate change. and many people do not even believe in man made climate change ... my guess is it won't happen.

Sadly, we haven't seen nothing yet.

I live in France near Paris, and I can tell you it's very hot down here. I did not go to work today ( I work only 4 days a week), and I had a headache all through the day. I had an appointment in town, that I cancelled because it was too hot.

Drink more water for the headaches. Water drinking patterns tend to be habitual not weather related &people just don't drink enough for extremes

Yes, that is what I did, and also taking showers. Now it's midnight, and still hot. Wonder what weather it will be tomorrow.

I've been hearing about the heatwave since last week, but it's been bearable so far in Paris, helped by a constant wind when outside (and HVAC in the office). Also I think Paris is not getting the worst of the heat, but I've not checked.

The region of the worst heat missed Paris by about 100 kilometers, thanks to cooler air from the north, Paris stayed ad mid-30ies for the last days (I have a co-worker in Paris). I am from Munich and it was plenty hot here too, also mid-30ies. Survived in a non-AC office in front of a fan at about 27c during all day.

Mind you: June isn't the hot month, the hottest month of the year is typically July, so the worst might be still to come...

How's the AC situation there? When I went to Europe last year I found it rare for a home to have air conditioning (extremely commonplace here in southern South America where I'm from)

It's not that common in South America as you might think though, it depends on the country/region of that country.

I'm from Colombia, the Caribbean region to be more exactly, and it's obviously common there (if you're middle class and upwards, and can afford the rise on the energy bill), but in other not so warm cities you barely see them. I'm currently living in Chile and I've yet to see an AC in an apartment/house.

Looking at the conversation here, I'd like to see some stats correlating average/high temperatures and AC use. According to wikipedia, average summer highs in Paris are only a couple of degrees lower than Montevideo, yet in Montevideo it's very common for (middle class) homes to have AC and in Paris it's rare.

AC at home is almost non-existent in France. It's more common in offices, some shops... My grand father is in hospital at the moment and most of the rooms don't have AC.

I was in Paris until yesterday, and just got back to NYC. Being stuck in the heat wave without AC made me realize one thing: given the choice of no AC, or NYC-style "it's winter all year long" AC, I take no AC any day. I'm probably in the tiny minority though.

That said AC at reasonable levels is wonderful.

I love the Cool Biz campaign in Japan.

As the sister comment said, it's still very uncommon to have ACs at home, at least in the germanic countries (Austria in my case). Though with summers like this I've definitely heard more people talking about possibly installing air conditioning, and I myself bought my first fan ventilator last year because I couldn't stand the heat anymore.

Funny weird, I also bought my first fan ventilator last year. I used to put some ice in a bowl in front of it.

This year (last week) I bought a second one to put in the bedroom and set it up for the night. That breeze was really refreshing.

Like others said, pretty rare.

However I feel that this year people are buying the Portable AC units a lot more (there’s no stock left for moderately priced portable units on Amazon at the moment). I’ve lived in Delhi most of my life so I can survive 33 degrees in Paris, but our cat doesn’t seem to enjoy it.

I think I've ever seen AC in a flat or a home only one time and it was a portable air conditioner in a rental home in the South.

But malls, offices and the like have AC.

I've never been in South America, but I'd say that the average weather conditions in France (less heat and humidity) makes AC less important.

It's important to note that here winters are milder than in Europe, and it's unusual for buildings to have central heating. Most people buy AC to heat their homes in the winter as well, so it's not just a purchase for the summer

I'm also in Paris, and just yesterday someone told me that, I replied : "made AC less important". Clearly things have changed in the last 15 years. Paris and London haven't adapted yet to this change.

I don't think we're yet at a point where AC is important as important as, for example, South America. The current temperature is a record high, not an average temperature.

In Germany almost nobody has AC. I would expect France to be the same.

I am waiting for Amazon to deliver mine, it is supposed to arrive on Monday. It is expected to cool down a bit next week though.

Some collegues have an office in central Paris that is the ground floor of a traditional Haussmann block, they didn't have AC the last time I visited.

I'm currently in my company office located in the Sentier district – famous for being a startups hub. No AC, just a fan and open windows (the biggest issue is the car noise, even though traffic has been restricted for days).

Lots of neighbors have AC running but all the windows and doors wide open.

Edit: I live in an pre-Haussmann flat (5th floor, right under the roof). Crazy hot but no AC and no fan, all the windows open since Monday, days and night, even when I'm not at home. Crossing fingers re possible theft, but at least no one can steal my non-existent AC).

Another point: I was chatting with my brother yesterday, who's working in the construction, only for flats and apparently the current building code makes it nearly impossible to have central AC in an appartement building; end result some people will use a portable unit and drill a hole or run it with an open window

My girlfriend's family are visiting relatives in France at the moment. They've been going for the best part of 20 years and they cannot believe the temperature.

It's quite scary. Even in the UK, it's been unnaturally warm for most of this year and there were times in February and March where it was unseasonably temperate.

45c = 113f

That's desert like hot, holy shit.

Well the source is winds blown in from North Africa so you’re not wrong

Yeah at least here around Milan the silver lining is that there's some kind of breeze and it's not super humid. During the night you can sleep if you keep windows open.

This will impact the tourism industry to some extent and also high time for governments across the world to take positive steps in the same direction as this will eventually affect all of us. I stay in India and recent news related to water scarcity across cities are trending which is not usual.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48795264 has a map of the worst affected areas

Glad to see the title was edited to be more correct and less sensationalized.

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