Something’s Not Right

I took this yesterday, driving home from Pittsburgh. January 12; that’s pretty much “the dead of winter” around here.

The first year(s) I lived up here, I was very unhappy because the winters were severe; our first winter had an extended cold period (called “winter”) that lasted nearly a month. All the snow, slush, etc., didn’t melt – it just accumulated in layers of ugly strata; it got slipperier and slipperier and when the time came that the spring froze solid, I had to pickaxe my way through inches of ice.

Not anymore.

This year I haven’t even turned the water off at the studio; I don’t think it’s going to frost below the surface dirt.

I had a lot of time to think, driving home. Anna and I had spent the morning at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, looking at the fossils. So many extinctions!

Eventually we’ll have fruit crops begin to fail because the trees will think it’s spring and start their growth cycle, then encounter a hard freeze. Of course, Florida oranges will do great, assuming there’s any salt-free groundwater, which there won’t be. What’s scary to me is how interlocked all the systems are, and how a failre in one causes failures in the others.


  1. says

    The same is happening here. Today we had rain, and the temperature is +5°C. This year so far we have had almost no snow at all, there were only a couple of days with temperatures below freezing.

    Normally, in January, the temperature ought to be about -10°C in my part of the world.

  2. says

    In December, Taipei had a few days of single digit temperatures. This past Thursday, it was 27°C. It should be 10-15°C.

    The winters of 1987/88 and 1988/89 were unusually warm (remember the Calgary winter olympics using artificial snow?) but that was two out of decades, after a strong El Nino. Now it’s “normal”.

  3. jrkrideau says

    Eventually we’ll have fruit crops begin to fail because the trees will think it’s spring and start their growth cycle, then encounter a hard freeze.

    I believe it was about three years ago when Ontario lost something around 80% of its apple crop to that scenario. “Eventually” is long come and gone.

    Hell, we even have reports of kudzu in the far south of the province.

  4. Bruce Fuentes says

    Up here in NW Wisconsin we have gotten cold, but not much bone chilling cold. I only remember one -20F/-29C night, which is not normal. We are bouncing between 30F/1C and -10F/-23C. The worst thing has been the warmups we have had. Around Christmas we had temp above freezing and rain. Since the ground is frozen the water had nowhere to really go. We live on a country dirt road, so now all the ditches and culverts are full of ice. Hopefully, we do not get another warmup before spring actually gets here. I do not want to have to deal with the flooding multiple times.

  5. says

    It is my opinion that what remains of civilisation in 2100 will move indoors and underground in what will resemble mega malls, similarly food production. There’s already a lot you can do with LED lighting and climate controlled warehouses. Outdoors will simply be too dangerous for most of the year.

  6. springa73 says

    We had similar 65 F / 17 C temperatures this weekend here in Massachusetts. It’s very unusual, or rather was very unusual, likely to become more and more common. At least this warmup isn’t supposed to last much longer. I remember 10 or 12 years ago we had a whole freakishly warm week in January that got many of the plants sprouting or budding, only to be zapped when it got seasonably cold again. Those that survived didn’t get leaves again until summer, and didn’t produce fruit or seeds that year. That kind of thing is going to become more common.

    Now, Massachusetts is not Minnesota, and some above freezing weather in January is normal, but typically in the past only the upper 30’s or maybe 40 F on a warm day, not in the 60sF!

  7. =8)-DX says

    I mean I know climate is about averages and all, but this winter in CZ I’ve had exactly the same feeling. It’s been chilly outside, there were spots of snow, but mostly… just that. No metre thick layer everywhere, fingerless gloves or hands in pockets are enough, a hood usually does the work of a hat, the pavements haven’t frozen up much.

    More cold is supposed to come in February, but I mean this winter has been mostly light.

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