Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Irrational exuberance in getting from Point A to Point B

A major problem with a real winter like this one -- over and above survival, I mean -- is that we who are experiencing it first-hand are taking pride in accomplishing the things we'd do every single day regardless of the weather. Like showing up to work, I mean.

Take this morning, for example. We had a half foot of lake effect snow that slammed us last night, just as Polar Vortex II was settling over the Chicago area. (The sequels are never as good as the originals, are they? This morning it was a comparatively balmy 2̊ F, not the nearly -20̊ like we had on January 6.)

And we had a full foot of snow on the night of January 4-5, to go along with the foot we picked up for New Year's, so six inches of partly cloudy looks like nothing at all.

The difference is that, on the 5th, before the real cold set in, we had pretty much all day to shovel. This morning, we were shoveling in the cold.

But, anyway, here I am at the Undisclosed Location; the proof is before you on your screen.

And I feel like I've done my day's work already.

I don't think I'm the only one who feels like this.

Indeed, I've seen a number of reports from people who are lamenting the harshness of this winter and pining for spring. In my mind, I want to shout at all of them, Get a grip! It's still January, people! (The Blizzard of '67 was at the end of January, you'll recall. And Snowpocalypse hit on Groundhog's Day 2011.) But the rest of me kind of agrees with my whiny neighbors.

Scientists, of course, are blaming all this on global warming.

And -- my documented skepticism about the degree to which humans impact climate change except on a local level notwithstanding -- I'm inclined to agree with them.

We've had well over 40" of snow in Chicago this year so far. That's already above our normal average of 38" for the entire Fall, Winter and Spring season from October to May. Yes, it can snow in Chicago in May; a trace of snow has been recorded here as late as June. (That was in 1910, however. It's only 'recent' if you figure it as an event occurring after the Cubs last won the World Series....)

Last year at this time, according to the news last night, we'd had less than an inch and a half of snow officially (February and March did their best to pick up the slack, as I recall). On the other hand, although a trace fell in October 2012, there was no snow of an inch or more in Chicago for over 319 days last year.

A body could get used to that. I did get used to that and, judging by the wailing and gnashing of teeth hereabouts, a lot of folks did, too.

Our weather this winter is not unprecedented; it's well within the range of normal in my lifetime. But because it hasn't happened recently, for many people it's as if this is all new.

It isn't.

Global warming?


I don't mean that global warming is causing it to snow or not snow. I can't prove that one way or the other. But all this talk of global warming has made wimps of us all. I can prove that, just by my smug satisfaction at merely making it into the office....

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i don't get the whole al gore global warming thing really. first they said it's getting warmer and florida would be under water and then when it got so cold they changed it to climate change. whatever. i heard there was once an ice age. i wonder who caused that one? and that it melted too?

smiles, bee