Our regular Down Under commentor, The Rev Kev, suggested a “a state of the nation query about any different weather patterns that people are seeing where they live.”
I hope reader will weigh in on what they see in the way of changes in growing patterns, migrations, presence or absence of certain birds, animals, fish, insects…and snakes, since snakes have been a hot topic of discussion this week.
For instance, in New York City, we by definition have pretty much no wildlife. So my commentary would be mainly on long-term weather patterns. When I first moved here, in the 1980s, there was, virtually without exception, at least one cold spell per winter where the daily high was below 5 degrees, and sometimes below zero. We haven’t had one of those since the early 2000s. Similarly, we’d have usually one, if we were unlucky two, heat waves per summer where the highs would be over 100 degrees for two or three days. Again, I can’t remember the last time we had that happen. I see this particularly change in pattern, milder winters and summers in the Northeast, as a big contributor to climate science denialism in the US. A lot of people in media business live in a part of the US that appears to have benefitted from climate change.
In fact, the summers have become bizarre. Again when I was young, I would stop wearing tights under my jeans by at the latest Memorial Day, and usually not be able to wear them again until after Labor Day. A couple of summers ago, I was able to were the on a couple of days, IIRC later June or even July. Last summer, I wore them even more days. But the last two days, the high temperature was over 90 degrees. Go figure.
This year, we again had a generally mild winter where I didn’t pull out my super cold weather gear. When I visited Alabama in January and February, it was freakish to see so many plants flowing so early. The local said they were a month or even more ahead of schedule. Even though I don’t eat shad roe, that has been running a month or more early for the last few years too.
Another example comes from the Gulf of Maine, which has experienced more extreme warming than 99% of the oceans. My father’s family has lived in that area for hundreds of years as fishermen and farmers.
The Portland Press Herald was not so cheerful. From a 2017 story:
The study by seven scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, used a high-resolution global climate model and federal fisheries survey data to model how key fisheries species would likely be affected by predicted warming over the next 80 years.
The results confirmed previous research using other models and methods that found that the Gulf of Maine can be expected to become increasingly uncomfortable for many of the cold-loving species that have thrived here for all of recorded history but are at the southern ends of their ranges….
The scientists caution that the research analyzes just one factor – albeit an important one – the distribution of thermally appropriate habitat for each of 58 species. Their results predict the changes in the amount and location of such habitat but don’t account for many other factors that can influence the future populations of the species themselves, such as what happens to what they eat or what likes to eat them, or how the increasing acidity of the ocean – another product of climate change – will affect each….
The results are sobering nonetheless.
Animated maps at the science center’s website show the habitat of the suitable temperature for many species shriveling away to nothing in the Gulf of Maine 80 years from now, as surface temperatures increase. Among the losers are most of the groundfish that were once the mainstay of New England fishermen: cod, pollock, haddock, hake, flounder and redfish.
So please give your sighting, both where you live and any place you visit regularly.