Why I Doubt Global Warming   Leave a comment

Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner’s Office Extends Studded Tire Deadline


I’ve lived in Alaska for a half-century. The winters used to be much colder. Temperatures would drop to negative-50 degrees and stay for weeks. For much of the 80s and 90s, -50 was rare and it rarely sustained for more than a few days. The outlier on that was January and February of 1989 when the temperature dropped to negative-60 and stayed for three weeks. In the “aughts” the winters were often so mild it rained occasionally, which would have been unheard of when I was growing up.

But, in 1922, it rained in November and never got below -30 all winter and there are the Vikings farming in Greenland a thousand years ago that always made me wonder.

Summers were warm when I was a kid. June and July were hot. Sunburns and tans were not uncommon. The fall rains would usually start the last week of August, just before school started. Throughout most of the 1990s, summers in the Interior Alaska were cooler and wetter and the fall rains would descend in early-August. In keeping with the “the sky is falling because of global warming” a reporter for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner did an article in 2002 stating that all the tamarack trees were dying because it was too hot and dry for them. The problem with this was that in the same newspaper edition, the UAF forestry department noted that tamarack trees were an invasive species, brought across the Alaska Range by migrating Athabaskan Indians about 200 years ago and foresters weren’t at all surprised that they were dying of a blight. And, now, 11 years later, the tamarack are back, especially in areas where the black spruce forests burned in 2004-2006.

So, it’s April 30 and it’s still snowing. Normally, by this time, we’d have all brown lawns and maybe pockets of snow on the north side of buildings. The snow bank formed by my neighbor clearing his driveway all winter is 5 feet high STILL. I have NEVER seen winter hang on this long.

Why do I doubt global warming? Because I’m standing in the middle of winter when it ought to be spring. Last April, after a cold winter, I got a tan from sitting on my deck in my shirt shelves. This year, I’ve been shoveling that same deck every three days. It warms up to near normal temperatures and then it drops to sub-freezing and snows. I would note that this same pattern emerged in the 1930s. After several years of mild winters with little snow, there was a cold winter with a late spring and then a few years later, it got really really cold for several winters in a row.

Is this April snow storm freak weather or just a normal climate cycle that we so-intelligent humans don’t have enough historical perspective to evaluate? I vote with … we really aren’t as smart as we think we are.

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