March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. That’s the weather lore for England, and if it comes in like a lamb, the reverse is true.
Last year and this
Last year it came in like a lion – the Beast from the East came storming through, bringing heaps of snow (yes even by US standards, we had a lot of snow). I nearly didn’t get to the station to start my holiday because many roads were blocked, and there was no transport except for an intrepid few drivers who knew how to handle snow. I will thank my friend Michael once again for turning out to help me.
This year it’s come in like a lamb. Like nearly all of Europe, we have had unusually warm February (the warmest February day on record here, 20.2 degrees C, or 69 F), which meant I was playing golf in my short-sleeved shirt. The big question is whether the weather’s going to go out like a lion, with wind and storms taking us into April. [although we had huge winds—and snow in the northwest—last Monday, after a very benign start]
I saw an article last weekend about people rapidly getting used to extreme weather conditions and thinking them normal. While warm Februaries are a treat in the middle of dull, dreary winter, it plays havoc with the animals. I gather the groundhog didn’t see his shadow, so the US is safe for an early spring (is that the right way round?). For the UK, birds are already nesting. Some have already got chicks hatched, and very little food to feed them with, because the insects haven’t warmed up at the same rate [BTO enewsletter Feb 19]. Yes, I’ve seen bumblebees and butterflies around, but they often go back to sleep when the weather’s bad later. Those bird chicks will have no caterpillars to feed on. They’ll have to rely on humans to put out suitable fats for them, which is fine if they’re near gardens, but not in the middle of woods.
These extremes of weather are just as predicted by the climate scientists in the late 1990s [e.g. the Tyndall Centre, UK], and confirmed by every bit of research done since then. Over 97% of scientists agree that climate change is real, and human-related emissions of greenhouse gases are largely to blame [for a sciency analysis see this]. What they disagree on is the size, scale and scope of the impacts. How much will the seas rise due to glaciers melting? Will the oceans absorb some of the heat, and more of the carbon dioxide? What will happen to emissions with possible melting of the arctic tundra? There are scientific views on all of these, although nothing is certain because it is so complex, until we get to a stage where certain changes are inevitable.
But as another icesheet twice the size of Manhattan calves off the Antarctic, surely we should just get on with doing something about it?
Just another crisis?
There are so many self-induced crises in the world today, we are all wise to look to our own problems and try to sort them out. I’m in the middle of the madness that is Brexit. You probably have your own troubles. But unless we take a look at the bigger picture and then take a look at our own lives to do something about our impacts on the planet, there won’t be a planet for our grandchildren to live on.
Whether lions and lambs will adapt is also doubtful.
Good news …
And now for some good news. If you’re really quick you can grab some bargains at Smashwords during Read an Ebook Week – but it ends at midnight, Sunday 9th, Pacific time. Some of it may even be cli-fi – the latest in science-based fiction.