Science: Mighty 2°

On the U.S. east coast this summer, many a vacationer shivered on wet, chilly beaches or glumly played bridge indoors. Farmers and home gardeners watched their tomatoes, starved for sunlight, refused to redden. Lawns stayed green through August; human skins stayed untanned. When city folk streamed home disgustedly after Labor Day, many had the feeling that they had weathered al most an entire summer of dank Aleutian cold.

Not so, said the U.S. Weather Bureau, glancing up from its charts and instruments. A psychological illusion. In the eastern U.S., July and August had aver aged...

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