This is an off-topic post, only tangentially related to cycling.
Just a few random data points.
Last winter, I decided to count the number of days I was not able to ride my bike to work due to snow or ice. There were 6 days. There were also many days where I was riding on snow, just 6 days where I felt like the streets were too slick for me.
Since the temperature hit 80 degrees last week, I think we can say that winter is pretty much over. This winter, there were zero days when I did not ride my bike to work due to weather. Also, I’m not sure there were any days when I was riding my bike on snow. In fact, I think there was only one legitimate snow storm this winter.
I didn’t count the number of days, but I know that that last winter I often went to work dressed like this:
This year, I think I wore that full get-up maybe 3 times.
Last year, my posts were full of complaints about snow and ice on the bike paths, and the indignity of walking in a city where many people neglect to shovel their sidewalks:
I use my 1968 Raleigh as my “snow bike” and sometimes I just ride it for fun. For the winter of 2010-2011, I put about 130 miles on the Raleigh. For the winter of 2011-2012, I put 20 miles on the Raleigh.
The kids in my neighborhood got their sleds out once.
The city saved a ton of money on snow clearance this year – that should stave off civic bankruptcy a few more weeks.
So that’s just a few data points from my life. How about a broader picture?
A spring heat wave like no other in U.S. and Canadian history peaked in intensity yesterday [March 21, 2012], during its tenth day. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many temperature records broken for spring warmth in a one-week period–and the margins by which some of the records were broken yesterday were truly astonishing. Wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, commented to me yesterday, “it’s almost like science fiction at this point.” A few of the more remarkable records from yesterday:
Pellston, MI: record high broken by 32°F
Low temperatures beat the previous record high for the date at two stations
Canadian cities break all-time April record for warmth in March
– Jeff Masters, Co-Founder of Wunderground, blog post for March 22, 2012.
“Almost science fiction at this point.” That inspired me to write a scene for a science fiction movie:
Interior: auditorium. Presidential debate.
Moderator: In the last few years, we’ve seen record snowfalls, record destruction by tornadoes (including an outbreak of tornadoes in January), a spate of what used to be called “100 year” floods, and rising temperatures all over the globe. Most recently, New England saw weeks of temperatures above 50 degrees in January, and a heatwave that meteorologists are calling “Summer in March.” Insurance companies have begun to raise rates in anticipation that there will be more catastrophes caused by new weather patterns. In the face of the scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is happening right now, and the anecdotal evidence of extremely unusual weather patterns, what would your administration do to address climate change?
Republican Candidate: Let me get this straight – you’re complaining about 50 degree weather in January in New England?
Audience: [laughter and applause]
Republican Candidate: I don’t think we can 100 % for certain blame a weather event on so-called climate change and I’m not willing to sacrifice American jobs on the basis of flimsy evidence from self-serving elites. There are too many Americans out of work for us to put even more out of work with job-killing regulations. http://fadesascamerapullsback
Weather is not climate.
Still, there’s some freaky stuff going on.