If You Think 2022 Is Hot, You Should Have Been There in 1936!


There have been some big worries about spectacular 2022 heat waves in Europe and North America.  that started in July heat waves.  There has been worse in historic times.  The European heat and drought of 2003 was severe.

The winter of 1935–1936 was cold and spectacularly snowy in many parts of the United States.  Many thought it might be the end of the 1930s Dust Bowl of drought, heat, and blowing top soil.  That was not to be.  The winter and early spring precipitation stopped, and temperatures rose into a massive sustained heat wave that made 1936 the hottest year of the 1900s and the worst year of the Dust Bowl.  It is still significantly hotter than any other year with recorded data before, after, and including 2022.  

Furthermore, there were much warmer times before thermometers and records of the daily thermometer readings.  There are fuzzier temperature periods of warming and cooling inferred from historical records, such as warmth demonstrated by wine production in areas presently to cold for commercial wineries or cold demonstrated by glaciers swallowing villages in the Alps. 

The Medieval Warming period or Medieval Climate Optimum may have been roughly 900 to 1300 AD.  Britain had a lot of cheeky domestic wines.  The Norse settled Greenland (because it was green!). 

The Medieval Warm Period was followed by the Little Ice Age of comparable cooling.  British wineries could no longer compete with those of France, Spain, and Portugal.  The Norse colonies in Greenland were abandoned. 

But even then, there were some spectacular heat waves.   Europe had a vicious heat wave and drought in 1540.  Judging by records of grapes drying out before they were ripe and trees dropping their leaves in the summer, that year was probably much worse than 2022, 2003, and even 1936.


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