Thursday, January 10, 2008

Picture of Global Warming

The record-breaking warm weather of the past few days has forced Ski Roundtop to close for today and tomorrow. With temperatures into the mid-60’s, the resort has lost a lot of snow this week. You can see in this photo, even one taken as early as I took this one, that not much snow covers the slopes. This is what global warming looks like at the local level.

The rain that’s predicted for this evening is also likely a factor in closing the slopes now. So far this season, we’ve had about 7 days of actual winter temperatures—2 days here, followed by a week of warmth, another 3 days of normal temperatures, then more warmth. I might as well be living in, say, Virginia.

Up at my cabin, this cloudy and damp morning brought me more birds than has been usual at this time of day—or perhaps it was simply today’s extra minute of daylight. I heard a great horned owl the moment I first stepped outside. It wasn’t very close, calling from somewhere down deep in the valley. Their call is one of those haunting sounds, like the call of a loon or the scream of a red-tailed hawk, that always draws me out of myself and makes me pay attention to the natural world around me. The Carolina wren trilled loudly just a moment later and was much closer. My feeders were soon full of the usual suspects.

Other than the ubiquitous squirrels, I haven’t seen many animals around the cabin for a while. Perhaps they are still wary from the hunting seasons. Even so, it has been longer than usual since I’ve seen deer, raccoons, opossums, fox. The lack of raccoons isn’t a real surprise, perhaps not even the ‘possums, but the deer and fox have also been strangely absent. Of course, with the weather as it has been, what used to be normal isn’t normal anymore. Perhaps the animals are as confused as I am.


Cathy said...

That's a shame that your ski place had to close for two days. One the ski area up here has permanemtly close down. Too many bad season. It wasn't a big place but still hurts the local area.

kat said...

It's very sad that rain and snow are down from their normal numbers. When we were on our way back from our holiday in Oregon, we passed through Mount Shasta City in California. We always look forward to a little snow playtime. This year, there was hardly enough snow to play in. Our favorite photo places were also low on snow, ground showing through instead of the white, fluffy snow we were used to. Of course a week later, we all get hit with huge storms, hitting all at once. It felt like our yearly rain rations came in 3 days! Grandmother nature is NOT happy.

Carolyn H said...

Kat and Cathy,

What really irks me is when the local TV anchors all talk about how "nice" this warm weather in Janury is. I want to throw something at them.

Carolyn H.