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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Climate

Snowstorms in October are not all that unusual where I live in Norther New Hampshire. In fact, there hasn’t been a month here in which it’s never snowed. I remember years when it started snowing in October and that snow lasted all winter long.

Monday’s sunshine has already made fair progress melting the snow. It’ll be gone in the next few days.

This past October had actually seemed much warmer and wetter than when I was growing up. When I used to go hunting as a kid, it was difficult to be quiet due to all the dry leaves. Mornings were a lot frostier too back then. The last few years have been pretty wet and warm.

Climate and weather are two different things. We can’t make general climate pronouncements after one spat of unusual weather. That being said, in the last 4 or 5 decades, I’ve personally noticed some changes. For me, the real big indicator is changes in wildlife.

There never used to be wild turkeys in Northern New Hampshire. The Fish and Game biologists used to say it was too cold for them to survive. Two days ago my dog chased one out of the swamp next to my house and the turkey flew over my head. I’ve had whole flocks of those big birds cut in front of my car on the drive home. They are even up in the very northernmost tip of the state near the border of Canada.

Then there are the ticks. Growing up, I didn’t know what a tick was. Winters were too cold for them to survive. Over the years, I’ve watched their range move closer and closer. The White Mountains held them back for a few years, but they’ve made the jump. Ticks are everywhere in the state these days.

Scientists and politicians can debate climate issues all they want. People who spend a lot of time outdoors, and are of a certain age, know there have been changes. Warmer? Cooler? Wetter? Dryer? or maybe just more unpredictable and changeable?

-Sixbears

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