Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 27, 2015

Winter is Missing. Congress, too.

Warmest winter DC. A biker and jogger dart past the Capitol Christmas tree on Dec. 13. Temperatures are slated to peak on Christmas Eve in Washington in the 70s, approximately 35 degrees above average.

The newswire has offered up plenty of images of the freakishly warm winter on the East Coast and Europe. (Here are collections at Getty, Reuters and WAPO.) What makes this shot distinctive, though, is the politics. Taken on December 13th, you can see a biker and a runner in the foreground, one in shorts and both in short sleeves. In the background, you can see the Capitol Christmas tree, and then the U.S. Capitol itself.

Knowing how little Congress has engaged with the issue of global warming — the Republicans still in denial that it’s even happening — it doesn’t get clearer or closer than this. Still, with conservatives controlling both chambers, the reaction is predictable: are you going to believe us, or your own eyes?

By the way, we understand that weather, with its El Niños and Polar Vortexes, is actually a lot more complex. That doesn’t mean, however, that climate change isn’t a contributing or an exacerbating factor to the so-far absent winter. At the very least, it’s hard to avoid (unless you’re an elected official) when climate goes wildly out of whack.

Also check out the Armageddon-like temperature map at No Caption Needed.

(photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post. caption: Washington: A biker and jogger dart past the Capitol Christmas tree on Dec. 13. Temperatures are slated to peak on Christmas Eve in Washington in the 70s, approximately 35 degrees above average. It is likely that the temperature record for that day at Reagan National Airport, set at 69 degrees in 1933, will be busted.)

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