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Large-scale climatic patterns, rather than a growing “heat island” effect, are the overriding influence on weather in the Potomac River area, and temperature data in the area can therefore be validly compared to global trends. At least temporarily, however, the area, which includes Washington, D.C., has lost its coupling with global temperature trends.

Short-term regional anomalies in the Potomac River area's weather, especially high summer temperatures, may promote legislative action in the U.S. Congress on long-term global climate research. However, the current benign weather conditions in the political center of the United States tend to divert attention away from global climate research, diminishing the likelihood of significant expansion of research funding and greenhouse gas legislation.