Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Weekly Heat Wave

The wonderfully cool weather (with pretty clouds—see my picture at right) of last week has given way to blistering heat again. The heat waves outnumber and outlast the cold snaps by a substantial margin. It's difficult to do much of anything when it's 95° F outside on the street (the “official” temperature is always lower, but it isn't measured on actual streets where real people walk).

I've had to turn on my rickety A/C, which doesn't work very well but is better than nothing. I thought of getting a fan to draw cooler air through the apartment in the middle of the night, but I can't afford a fan (the cheapest I've seen is €20, which is more than I can afford).

I notice that when the sun is out and there are no clouds, the temperature rises consistently by about 4° F each day. If nothing interrupts this progression, there seems to be no obvious limit to how hot it can get, which makes it possible for Paris to beat places like Las Vegas in temperature in some cases. And yet Paris is actually north of Montreal. I've heard it said that if the Gulf Stream stopped, it would lower temperatures in Western Europe by several degrees; perhaps that would be a good thing for Paris, where temperatures have risen by more than a few degrees in just the past decade or two. The historically “normal” temperatures for the city are often 15° F below the real-world temperatures of the city these days.

For several thousand years, Paris has had a cool climate. Why did it suddenly become hot only a short time after I moved here? It's like hot weather follows me around like a curse. No matter where I go, I find myself listening to air-conditioning units running.