Lots of Bad News Out There About the Climate Today
Geez, I’ve come across four articles this morning that are pretty alarming when it comes to the climate:
Flowers are sprouting in January in New Hampshire, the Sierra Mountains in California are nearly snow-free, and lakes in much of Michigan still have not frozen. It’s 2012, and the new year is ringing in another ridiculously wacky winter for the U.S. In Fargo, North Dakota yesterday, the mercury soared to 55°F, breaking a 1908 record for warmest January day in recorded history. More than 99% of North Dakota had no snow on the ground this morning, and over 95% of the country that normally has snow at this time of year had below-average snow cover. High temperatures in Nebraska yesterday were in the 60s, more than 30° above average. Storm activity has been almost nil over the past week over the entire U.S., with the jet stream bottled up far to the north in Canada. It has been remarkable to look at the radar display day after day and see virtually no echoes, and it is very likely that this has been the driest first week of January in U.S. recorded history.
For many of us, climate change is an abstract topic, as tedious as a droning Al Gore lecture complete with wonky charts.
But not if you’re a maple farmer in New England. The region has long provided a robust ecological niche for maple trees. But just a few decades of steadily warming weather has changed all that. Once-flourishing trees are shedding leaves too early in the season and producing sub-par sap.
It’s summertime at Lake Tahoe.
The calendar doesn’t show it. But just about everything else does – and that’s not good for most people trying to make a buck up here.
Lines are out the door at ice cream shops, the miniature-golf course is bustling, and mountain bikers are tearing up and down the parched mountainsides under balmy skies.
Nowhere, however – at least from the shoreline – can you see snow.
Just a year after record snowfall throughout much of the Rocky Mountain West, the region is locked in a snow drought not seen since Jimmy Carter surrendered the White House to Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s.
“We have had some very unusual weather so far this season,” Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said Friday. “For the first time in 30 years, a lack of snow has not allowed us to open the back bowls in Vail as of January 6, 2012, and, for the first time since the late 1800s, it did not snow at all in Tahoe in December.”
“[The drought] will make the beetle epidemic even more severe,” said state Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Snowmass Democrat who’s introducing a bill in the legislative session starting Wednesday that’s aimed at reducing the fire danger from a mountain pine bark beetle epidemic that has killed millions of acres of Colorado lodgepole pines. “What doesn’t burn down will blow down.”
Gee. Thank goodness it’s an election year. The “liberal media” can ignore all this and bring us 24/7 primary coverage instead.