January 16, 2007

Crimes of the Hot

shoes

The weather has been peculiar this year. Sure we've had warm El Nino winters before, but season has been stranger than anything I can remember. The place where I snowboard was closed again for the third weekend in a row because it was simply too warm to even make snow. Last week when the temperature rose to record highs, I heard tree frogs. It was disturbing to hear that discordant note of spring; I don't usually hear the first peeper until the end of March. Plants and animals seem confused by the weather: buds are swelling months too early, trees have been tricked out of dormancy, and birds that should have flown south months ago are still here.

My teenagers, lulled by the warm weather, have been playing with frisbees instead of snowboards, wearing hoodies instead of winter coats, and leaving their sneakers outside on the back step to dry.

Naturally, my scientific colleagues have been discussing the weather, sorting out what can be attributed to El Nino, and graphing the more subtle changes that are global warming. Both local information (that is, anecdotal information gathered from someone like my father who has lived here for 75 years) and scientific information indicate that the climate is changing, although certainly there is some uncertainty as to what exactly that change might look like. I've seen charts that graph trends out for fifty years or five hundred. It's pretty scary.

Of course, many of us are wondering quite simply, what might happen this week. The temperatures have been dropping rapidly, an ice storm yesterday was followed by snow today, and winter is returning all of a sudden. Below freezing temperatures and snowstorms are absolutely normal, of course, but this year, many plants and animals that were lulled into thinking it was spring are going to be caught by surprise.

Note: Today's title comes from my youngest son, With-a-Why, who was sitting next to me when I wrote this blog post. He read the post and said, "Call it Crimes of the Hot. It's the Futurama episode about global warming.

15 comments:

ppb said...

I think with a why has a future for himself in copy-editing?

We still have no snow! And I'm sorry, that's just WRONG.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Well, we have snow, about the same as you do. Can I stop worrying about the polar bears and penguins yet? I think not!

LOVE the photo! :-D XOXOX

Anonymous said...

I totally love With A Why.

jo(e) said...

Mary: I know. Have you seen this piece about polar bears?

Anonymous said...

That is an appropriate title.

kathy a said...

the photo is priceless; the title, too.

MonkeyPants said...

What an excellent picture.

I think we in 'balmy' Vancouver, B.C. might have gotten your cold weather by accident. There's been snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures for a week now. We don't know how to deal with that!

Anonymous said...

It's so nice to have some normal winter weather, snow covering everything, little snowflakes drifting slowly toward the ground.

One of the things that makes me mad is the mainstream media coverage that portrays 60 degree January days as wonderful and great and "the upside to global warming". Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Anonymous said...

I also dislike the news coverage talking about how the warm weather is great. It is wrong, not great. I did see some tiny very brief snow flurries yesterday which made me happy. On the flipside though, I ran into a mosquito on Saturday. That is just not right.

(un)relaxeddad said...

No snow for us either so far. Been a few years down south since we saw real snow in Decemberbut up in the North of England, it's unusual. Up on the moors there, they have tall poles to guide snow ploughs. A taxi driver told me that they haven't been needed for a while now. Looks like if our dudelet wants to have any serious snowy memories, we're going to have to travel to find them...

Rana said...

I can't tell how normal this last year's weather has been, since I have only a year to compare it to. However, my gut sense says that _something_ is off -- the spring was too wet, the summer too hot, the fall and winter too wet and warm.

Our trees have been budding too - I'm worried about them now that the temps are finally dropping.

Early in the fall there was a cold snap and one of the local businesses quipped on their sign, "What global warming?"

I was so mad I could spit,* and perversely glad that several weeks of above-seasonal temps followed.



*This is why I'm on a crusade to correct anyone who uses that term instead of the more accurate "global climate change." It's the surges and the unpredictability that are bad, not just warmth.

Anonymous said...

Now that I have a better digital camera, I'm going to challenge myself to take photos half as interesting as yours. Just half, and I'll be happy!

It's been too warm in Florida, too. Where I live it DOES get chilly and sometimes below freezing in Jan/Feb. Instead, I'm seeing the same kind of problems you are. For instance, my hibiscus and azaleas are budding. And I should probably mow.

Good grief.

jo(e) said...

Rana: Yeah, you are right that the phrase climate change is more accurate. Of course, some politicians use that to their advantage – the phrase sounds more harmless than global warming. They try to act like yeah, there's climate change, but it all balances out .... that drives me crazy to.

Bitty: Thanks. I really wish I has a good digital camera -- I just use a point and shoot one, which is very limiting. Someday I am going to get a digital SLR.

Anonymous said...

i haven't read your blog in quite some time and it feels warm and comfortable to read you again. beautiful photograph, i love this.

eerily warm for us here in the washington, d.c., area, warmer than i've ever known for january. we should all be concerned....

mymornings said...

Hi Jo(e),
Just wanted to reveal myself as a lurker here for over a month now. Thank you for your global warmth; I find your photos as inspiring as your insights.
Thanks,