And not in the sense of “Paris Hilton hot”, or “Michael Jordan hot.” No, we’re talking real temperatures here folks, and worldwide we are well on our way to the hottest year ever. The statistics for September only confirm the trend:

Worldwide, it was the warmest September on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday [October 17th].

Averaging 1.13 degrees Fahrenheit (0.63 degree Celsius) above normal for the month, it was the warmest September since the beginning of reliable records in 1880, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Old news you say? Well, not to the Fox News Network. They’ve spent years allowing “junk scientists” or industry hacks to appear on their shows to downplay the significance (and the reality) of global warming. But on Sunday even they will acknowledge the truth of global warming’s disastrous consequences for our planet, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Robert F.Kennedy Jr.

A Fox News Special “The Heat is On: The Case of Global Warming” airing this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. EST, documents the devastating impacts that global warming is already having on our planet. In one segment of the show, I accompany a Fox News crew to Glacier National Park in Montana where only 27 of the 150 glaciers that graced the park in 1850 remain–and these will be gone within our generation.

. . . I spent a summer in a tent in Africa with Roger Ailes in 1973 making a wildlife film. He is charming, affable, very smart, and very, very funny. Although we both believe that each other’s politics are misguided, we have remained friends for three decades. Last year, I asked Roger, as a personal favor, to attend Al Gore’s New York City update on global warming science. Although he left that presentation still agnostic, he was convinced that the debate deserved a public airing. I argued that since there is no such thing as Republican or Democratic children, global warming should not be a partisan but only a scientific issue. The Fox News team did a superb job exploring the science. This film should be seen be everyone.

Not sure I buy into the idea of Roger Ailes as charming and affable, though. This is the guy, after all, who runs Fox News, sexual harrassment center of the media universe. The same guy who once compared critics of his programming to robots, morons and bigots. But if we can get a show like this before Fox’s traditional audience of NASCAR fans, “people of faith” and Bush cultists, and actually inject a dose of reality based information into their well scrubbed Republican brains, I suppose a little butt kissing of the man who made it so isn’t entirely out of order.

Too bad it’s coming too late to stop this from happening:

The new analysis comes as government and independent scientists are reporting other dramatic signs of global warming, such as the record shrinkage of the Arctic sea ice cover and unprecedented high ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

Late last month, a team of University of Colorado and NASA scientists announced that the Arctic sea ice cap shrank this summer to 200 million square miles, 500,000 square miles less than its average area between 1979 and 2000. And a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined that sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico were higher in August than at any time since 1890, which may have contributed to the intense hurricanes that struck the region this year.

“At this point, people shouldn’t be surprised this is happening,” said Goddard atmospheric scientist David Rind, noting that 2002, 2003 and 2004 were among the warmest years on record.

No, people shouldn’t be surprised by this, but I’ll bet a few Fox News fans just might be if you can get them to turn the tube away from ESPN’s Sunday Night Football or Desperate Housewives long enough to learn something important. In any event, be sure and email your wingnut friends and relatives and tell them to watch this program on Sunday. Maybe they’ll believe global warming isn’t just a treehugger conspiracy when it’s reported by a “fair and balanced” news source.