In the northern latitudes of North America winter has many faces—from snow and ice to early blooming plants.
I have made journeys from one coast to the next and into the middle these last two months. What intrigues me is how many ordinary people are wondering about the changing face of winter in their area.
Folks in the northeastern U.S. who have recently been hard hit by snowstorms and Hurricane Sandy are seriously talking about global climate change. Unlike a few years ago when there was still a universal dismissing of “global warming”, people and their officials are having public dialogues about where and how to build.
In the central part of the U.S. in farming communities the weather has always been a part of winter conversations. Now it seems to me there is a wondering out loud about coming changes. Even with snow lying on the ground this year folks are remembering unprecedented early tornadoes in March of 2012 with a measure of unsettledness. . . and the droughts of last summer have not yet been quenched by mild winter snows.
In the lowlands of western Washington next to Puget Sound it is not uncommon for our maritime climate to have no winter snow. However, we had some of the highest ever rainfall totals in November and December. We are noticing that global climate change models for our area predict increasing warmth and wetness in the next decades.
Whatever continent you live on, I invite you into the dialogue about global climate change and its effects in your area. Talking about the weather really is an important past time!