Year 3, Month 2, Day 12: Warmer Weather Means More Squirrels! Squirrel! Squirrel!

Papers everywhere are reporting on the wacky non-winter most of us have been, um, enjoying. Here’s an account from the Southeast Missourian:

In the Tot Lot, more than a few children horsed around in short sleeves. Families strolled around the lagoon. A laughing toddler — sans coat — chased after a disinterested dog.

A typical spring day at Capaha Park. Except it was February.

The temperature hit 65 degrees in Cape Girardeau on Thursday, setting a record high for Feb. 2, according to the National Weather Service at Paducah, Ky. The service, which has tracked temperatures locally since 1960, said Thursday’s temperature broke the record high of 62 degrees, which happened previously on Feb. 2 in 1964 and 1974.

“This is great,” said Jason Mulholland, who was at the park with his wife and two young sons. “You could almost have shorts on. If I was out running, I would have shorts on.”

February’s milder-than-usual start follows the fifth-warmest January in Cape Girardeau on record, weird weather that has caused the 17th warmest January in Washington, D.C., the third-warmest in Phoenix and the 13th warmest in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Nothin’ to see here, folks. Move along. Move along. Sent February 6:

When reporting on local weather weirdness, it’s essential to avoid any mention of broader regional, national and planetary patterns. The fact that Southeast Missouri’s winter has been several degrees warmer than usual is no reason for alarm. Nor should we be worried that in Massachusetts, the only significant blizzard this winter was in October, or that Yosemite National Park, normally blanketed, has remained essentially snow-free all winter, or that Texas’ ongoing drought has completely dried up portions of the Colorado river. Australia’s deepening flood crisis may have left thousands of people homeless, but that’s over there, not over here.


While no single weather event can be unequivocally linked to global climate change (science simply doesn’t work that way), climatologists have been telling us for years that the burgeoning greenhouse effect is going to disrupt weather patterns everywhere around the planet. Perhaps it’s time to pay attention to them.

Warren Senders


Year 2, Month 2, Day 2: The Future Is Here Already

The Khaleej Times is a news organization based in the UAE. They ran a version of the AP story on Ban Ki-moon’s changed approach; the same day their headline noted a “sudden storm” that “played havoc” in the northern part of the country. A nice connection that worked pretty well in this letter.

It is a sad irony: on the day that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is reported to be “shifting focus” in the fight against climate change, the lead story in the Khaleej Times is headed, “Sudden storm plays havoc in the Northern Emirates.” A post-global-warming atmosphere will feature quite a few such sudden and extreme weather events, which can confidently be expected to wreak havoc wherever they show up. “Once-in-a-century” floods will come every decade; weather patterns that have been consistent and dependable for countless generations are going to go steadily more awry. As weather predictions become ever more unreliable, the only things to remain certain will be agricultural disruption and infrastructural destruction. It is to be hoped that Ban Ki-moon’s focus on sustainable economic development will provide effective motivations for the world’s biggest greenhouse emitters to change their ways, since “saving the world” didn’t seem to do the trick.

Warren Senders