Friday, April 9, 2010

All Summer in a Week

Those who thought that global warming was over following the "blizzaster" storms that we experienced earlier this year might be rethinking it now that we've had almost a week of summer to start April, including a record 85 degrees here on Long Island on Wednesday. (For those who might be wondering: No, we haven't opened the pool yet. Laurie thought about it, but the guys who do it haven't even started their work season yet.)

Some years ago, when the CTY summer program at Chestertown included a Meteorology class, we had one morning where the temperatures were in the 50s. This was quite startling, as those of us who had been through Maryland summers were quite used to heat and humidity. (One of my colleagues described our transit from air-conditioned dorm to air-conditioned classroom to air-conditioned dining hall as moving "from igloo to igloo through hell.")
As we were walking to the dining hall for lunch, I asked "Meteorologist Mike" how it could be so chilly if we were having a global warming. Mike's explanation was quite simple; he said that the climate change was going to result in abrupt and extreme weather changes...such as having a day of 50-degree weather in July.

Certainly the snowstorms that socked the Mid-Atlantic states earlier this year and the torrential rains that flooded the Northeast a couple of weeks ago qualify as extreme weather. There was snow on the ground in forty-nine of the fifty states -- Hawaii being the lone hold-out -- at one point this winter. Students who had never even seen the white stuff in their lives experienced the first "snow days" in states where the snow removal plan is "It will melt." (When Sammi tried to buy a snow shovel at a K-Mart near her, she was told that they don't sell snow shovels in Virginia.)

Now that the weather has returned to normal, it remains to be seen if our early week of summer is a fluke or if we'll experience more extremes. Last year we had three months of April and, if that pattern repeats, we might not see any more hot weather till the end of June. Whatever the case, it's not like we can do anything about it.

Unless, of course, you believe that the Chinese have mastered weather control and they are doing this just to screw with us.

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