Monday, February 02, 2009

You Don't Need a Weatherman

I know I can't deduce too much about global climate change from local observations, but hey, it's Groundhog Day, and our Japanese plum trees are all blossoming, thinking it's spring. I realize that we're entering the third year of a drought, which is no big thing in the Bay Area, but really.

The snow (PDF) up at Tahoe this weekend was getting pretty thin. They've had one small snowstorm in the last month, and even it was preceded by some rain. The snow pack is way below what it should be, and I'm not just talking from the perspective of someone who wants to ski.

Twenty-five years ago, when I was studying climate, my professors said that the first indications of global climate change would be greater variability and more extremes: more droughts and floods, extreme freezes and heat waves. And that's all out there, worldwide.

As the famous meteorologist Robert Zimmerman once noted, "The climes, they are a-changin'":
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

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