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Global warming or Early spring?

March 22, 2012

In Ohio, our forsythia and magnolia bloomed two weeks early. Elsewhere, apple blossoms are starting a month early. And this appears to be part of a general heat wave in the USA.

Is it global warming; or just an early spring?

What’s the climate doing where you live?

  1. Frank Caesar Branchini permalink
    March 22, 2012 11:32 pm

    I was in Washington today looking at the cherry blossoms which are their peak. This is the third earliest ever,

    We also visited the Martin Luther King Memorial. The statue of King is far more impressive and is more true to life than it looks in photos. The statue is 30 feet high and is named the Stone of Hope. It stands in front of two other pieces of granite that symbolize the Mountain of Despair with the Stone of Hope pulled out of the center of the Mountain of Despair. It’s a wonderful concept but I would not have understood the symbolism had I not read a newspaper article explaining it.

    One thing I found disappointing is that there are a number of quotes on a wall behind the statue of King but nothing from the I have a dream speech which was one of the most memorable and moving speeches in history.

  2. March 23, 2012 12:33 am

    The iceplant in my front yard here in Silicon Valley is in full bloom, while the tree next to the pond in back hasn’t decided if it’s time to put out leaves yet. (I’m going for xeriscaping in the front yard.)

    • March 23, 2012 10:11 am

      Xeriscape is fascinating. If you have any good links on this, let me know.

  3. March 23, 2012 1:02 am

    I’ve got a grape vine leafing out, but there’s more snow coming down in the local mountains.

    I just finished DeBuy’s A Great Aridness:Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest . One of his great lines is that some people prefer to call it “global weirding” rather than “global warming,” because the weather will get more more extreme and unpredictable, not uniformly warmer. The reason is that warm air absorbs more water, so the storms can get bigger. More heat also means more energy to move air. Fun stuff.

  4. frances permalink
    March 23, 2012 4:03 am

    Spring in Berlin. The first two years I was here, the city was only just properly emerging from snow. This year, other than a two-three-week cold snap, winter was mostly above zero, trees are beginning to bloom, and it’s already in the high-teens. Global weirding indeed.

  5. paws4thot permalink
    March 23, 2012 5:15 am

    Spooky co-incidence time here at Paws Towers, Scotland, UK.

    We were just commenting on what a mild Winter we’ve had (2011/12) and how warm it is just now.
    OTOH last Winter (2010/11) was the hardest since 1962/62.

    So with just 6 contributions we already seem to have a general trend of a mild Winter and early Spring across North America and Western Europe emerging.

    • paws4thot permalink
      March 23, 2012 11:13 am

      errarum “..since 1962/63.”

  6. March 23, 2012 9:52 am

    In Lexington, KY, jonquils came up in late January — mid-March is normal.
    Dogwoods that normally bloom around the 1st of May are blooming now.

  7. March 23, 2012 10:12 am

    These examples all sound beautiful; who wouldn’t want jonquils in January.
    I wonder though if anyplace is drying out?
    Also, what about insects that didn’t die off in the winter.
    Our house is crawling with ants.

    • paws4thot permalink
      March 23, 2012 11:17 am

      Water companies in the South-East of England are officially declaring drought conditions. The practical effects of this are that you’re not allowed to water gardens or use hosepipes to wash cars.

      Also, despite a few hard frosts, we’ve got flying insects already, about a month early.

  8. Frank Caesar Branchini permalink
    March 23, 2012 10:35 am

    We had a very mild winter in Maryland. I didn’t use the snow shovel once! Huzzah! I have heard quite a few people here including gardening people who worrying that warm weather now could result in drought conditions during the summer.

    On the news last ngiht they had a story about the asparagus crop in Michigan which is coming up weeks earlier than usual. Asparagus is picked by migrant workers and because it is coming up early the workers are not there to pick. They were saying that most of this year’s crop could be lost.

  9. March 23, 2012 12:01 pm

    Just like everywhere else, it seems, the “winter” in central Texas was extremely mild but, wonder of wonders, extremely wet. Here in Austin, one can count on the wildflowers (particularly bluebonnets, aka lupins) blooming the last week in March. This year it was the first week. We had some crepe myrtles blooming in January!

    One data point does not make a trend, but last summer was the hottest (and dryest) in Austin history. (The previous record for heat was three years ago.) Whether one blames it on global warming or on La Nina or on a liberal conspiracy, SOMETHING is different!

    Even with all the rain the last few months, the reservoirs are still below 50%, so things might get very, very ugly if, as predicted, the drought extends through this summer also. (The dam managers have already given notice that there will be NO water released for agriculture this year, period, which means the South Texas rice farmers are going to dry up and blow away, literally.)

    As an example of potential disaster, San Antonio, with a population of a million and a half, depends totally on well water from the extremely shallow Hill Country aquifers, which run dry just as fast as a surface river. (For those who are geologically inclined, the Hill Country (aka the Edwards Plateau) is classic Karst geology — porous limestone where much of the rainfall goes straight downward. Lots of caves for bats and endangered salamanders, though.)

  10. Elizabeth... permalink
    March 23, 2012 3:31 pm

    It was a ridiculous winter in Canaan, NY (southeast of Albany, snugged up against the Massachusetts border) — almost as much snow in the storm just before Halloween (17″) as we had during the whole rest of the fall and winter. (As soon as the snow tires come off in three days we’ll probably get pounded.)

    TV station WNYT’s Web site reported this morning, “At the moment, the average temperature this month makes this March the warmest on record; records have been kept since 1820. In addition, we have broken/tied 7 record highs this month, which is also a first for that number of record highs in any month in Albany.”

    Our small lake had only two months of complete ice coverage. I need to dig out my records to check dates, but typically it goes out sometime in April. The forsythia bloomed in November and again in January, but doesn’t seem to have suffered for it: its springtime display looks fine. The acorn crop was down, so the mouse population is down, so the ticks, apparently, are looking for substitute hosts. Should be a fabulous year for Lyme disease!

  11. Frank Caesar Branchini permalink
    March 31, 2012 12:00 pm

    From the March 31 Washington Post:

    “With the month ending Saturday, it appears likely to be the warmest March on record in Washington. In addition, the first quarter of this year may be the warmest first quarter ever recorded.

    Through Friday, the average temperature for March at Reagan National Airport was about 56.8, according to the National Weather Service. Even if Saturday is much cooler than normal, the average temperature for the month is likely to remain above the existing record of 56.2 degrees, set in 1945.

    The 91-day January-to-March period, with a likely average temperature of about 47.1, may also set a record.

    January 2012, with temperatures well above normal, was tied for the 17th-warmest since record-keeping began in 1871, according to the Weather Service. February 2012 was the fourth-warmest on record.”

    According to the Phoenix Wildlife Center in Baltimore County, MD, hummingbirds have been showing up early in Maryland because of the unusually warm weather. I am a hummingbird enthusiast. The earliest I have ever seen a hummingbird here is April 15 and most years we don’t see hummers until the last week of April. I put my hummingbird feeders out this morning.

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