Well, I came to Northern California to live, in March 2005. Straight to Davis from chilly Nottingham, I fell in love with the lovely sunny 60°F days (that's 15°C). Compare that with 50°C/10°C maxima, following frosty March mornings, that I was used to. I was in Paradise...
Summers were another matter, however. As soon as the temperature started to climb much above 75°F (23°C) I started to sweat a little. "Hot out", I'd say. The locals would just smile and nod and pat me on the head. "Oh, You think it's hot now...wait 'till it gets HOT." That was in April. By June I was certain that it couldn't get hotter, temperatures starting to get into the mid-80s (30-ish) and I repeated my little "...hot out..." speech. Only to get the same response.
I would sweat my way to the Food Co-op and sweat back again, laden with goodies, to an amused but not entirely sympathetic wife. "Oh, it can hit 100", she'd remind me. And I'd groan. You see, the all-time UK temperature was (still is, I think) just 101° (a sweltering 38.5°C), and if it even approached 90°F there would be "Phew, What A Scorcher!" headlines in the papers.
Finally, however, my day came - a red letter day for me, when a Davis resident finally agreed that it was hot. It was 90-odd that day, but I was satisfied for a moment. "At least it's a dry heat...", he said, and I gritted my teeth. As I reluctantly turn on the air conditioning, I groan (and not always just inwardly) at the certainty of an inflated electricity bill and the knowledge that my cooler home interior means a hotter exterior.
Of course, I'm something of a veteran now, and I barely flinch until it hits ninety. But I still worry. You see, Davis' typical weather is pretty bad in the summer - we managed to escape the worst excesses last year by running off to Canada the week it climbed to 110, but that won't always be the case. Each year more people drive away or jet off to avoid the gnarliest of the heat, but that must soon start to change.
What happens if climate change means that it gets hotter? Maybe not just hotter, but drier too. California grows a good deal of America's food, and farmers rely on (would you believe) water - without irrigation, there would be no agriculture. Without the runoff from the surrounding mountains, water levels in the Central Valley would fall, and sooner or later we'd have to look elsewhere for our water.
Rather like the residents of Southern California, we'd have to pump water hundreds, thousands of miles to irrigate our fields, water our lawns and golf courses, wash our cars.
Yep, that would be a dry heat.