Thursday, December 24, 2015
As usually happens when it's unusually warm here in winter, we have a dense fog. Actually it has never been this warm in Connecticut on December 24, since people here had thermometers. Today is just the culmination of the warmest December in general. It's certainly let me conserve my wood pile and it's made life generally easier. The squirrels are literally swarming in the woods, and looking fat. Life is easy for most of the critters, but not the ones who normally hide from raptors under the snow.
Now, here in southern New England we expect a lot of variation in the weather. It's not at all unusual to have warm spells during the winter, and some winters are milder than others in general. As you know, last winter turned extremely cold and snowy in January and stayed that way through March. The prognosticators say we should expect more precipitation in winter here in the coming decades; the question is whether it gets warm enough for much of it to be rain, or for the snow to melt quickly. Until then, more snow will make winters seem harsh, even if the temperatures are tending to rise.
Whatever humanity manages to do about burning fossil fuel, the climate will continue to change, so we need to accept the consequences. One of the worst things for this neck of the woods will be if the hemlocks all die. When I bought this property the forester I hired to do prep work told me they were doomed because of the woolly adelgids. But we had some winter mornings that were cold enough (-6 F.) to kill the insects. If that stops happening, they'll come back, and the hemlock groves will turn into ghostly gray monuments to our folly. I can't bear to think about it.