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January...it's the new April!

Or: Climate change scares the methane out of me...

I awoke this morning to another beautiful, balmy, 55 degree January morning and I suddenly realized that "Winter" as I once knew it is dead. It's not just a "warm-snap," or a freaky patch of weather. Its been like this for the past week. A day or two prior to this warm period the weather was bone-chilling, skin-biting cold. This happens EVERY year now: we have several periods of one to three weeks where the weather is just unseasonably warm, Springtime warm. Its been like that for at least the past four winters I've been in NYC. That's just the way it is now, much like the way Autumn has almost completely disappeared.

Call me old fashioned, call me alarmist, call me "Chicken Little," but I don't ever remember it being like this in the winter. I seem to remember a time when, for spans of several weeks, even whole seasons, I had a general idea of the kind of weather I could expect. Yeah, it might snow unexpectedly, or it might be a little warmer than usual here or there, whatever. But this a little too odd, and a little too prolonged for me.

The words "global warming" are now as firmly entrenched in our everyday language as the words "car" and "grocery store." We crack jokes about global warming when the weather stays in the 70s until late November (as it did this year). We joke about how we'll be able to play outdoor sports all year round in a few years, about how our neighborhoods might be underwater some day soon...but the laughs are a little hollow, and the jokes are just a way to swallow the pill that the climate is changing before our eyes, as we walk around in short sleeves in the dead of winter.

Climate change is staring us in the face. It is so blatantly obvious, that its almost hard to believe it is actually true. Kind of like Hitler's "Big Lie" theory in reverse; the Big Lie theory is that if you tell a lie so enormous, people will believe you simply because they cannot think someone would be so bold as to tell such a lie. In this case, when climate change and global warming are household words, were are experiencing radical changes in the climate but we almost cannot believe the climate could be chaning so fast.

I'm not so simple as to believe that a few warm days in January herald the Apocalypse, just as I don't think that I have a brain tumor every time I get a headache. But the signs of climate change are there, and they are mounting every day. Whether or not you're a liberal, conservative, or Al Gore, you're going to have to deal with it.

So strap in...it's going to be a strange ride.

(Write me back with some comments, please)

Comments

Patricia said…
The Climate has been changing for some time now, in Argentina every year we feel the sun getting worse. This summer we had a week of 105 F, in the city, it was awful.
I hope USA starts to get realized of this problem because if you don’t change there is nothing other countries like us can do. We have only around 34millon habitants in Argentina and most of them are not industrialized, with this I mean they don’t have a TV, AC, PC, so what can you ask them to do for global warming? Nothing, absolutely nothing. So for us the countries that are not industrialized like USA the only thing left to do is seat back, feel the changes and wait till one day North America will finally change and get realized of this problem like Europe has. If you want to know more read about the Kyoto Protocol.
DKC's World said…
Back in the early 80's there was a week in January where it was so hot that everyone was wearing shorts. And this was in Pennsylvania. Since that time it has seemed as though the weather has shifted in the northeast. Snow that used to come in late October (in the 50's we often had snow on Halloween) now doesn't come until December. Blizzards that covered the land in December now surprise everyone in March. Is the shift due to global warming or some other trend?
dkc's world said…
I didn't realize I couldn't edit my comment. Please let me add that I sincerely believe it is global warming and it does frighten me. Our country (USA) is a world leader. It is time we lead the world in changing our lifestyles to protect the environment we have helped to destroy. We changed a lot back in the 60's, I'm sure we can work on getting changes started now. Any ideas?
Grant Catton said…
As I see it, all we can do now is slow down a process that is already in place, and hope for the best. Things like carbon caps, hybrid cars, recycling, and alternative power sources are all good, but in the time it will take to integrate them into our society, more damage is still going to be done. Nevertheless, we have to try.
Joshua said…
be careful...you're gonna kill the 'strange ride' ending for everyone. there's a quota.

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