Sunday, March 2, 2008

Shivering in Boston

Polprint is no fan of excessive heat. While living in Texas, she snuck off to the Rockies as much as possible during the summer. But a touch of global warming wouldn’t be amiss in New England these days. To exaggerate only slightly: it has snowed practically every week since early December. This is Polprint’s fifth (non-consecutive) winter in Cambridge, and it is by far the snowiest. (Polprint has not seen temperature data except for December, which was indeed unusually chilly. Jan and Feb have felt colder than normal too.)

Today's New York Times assesses the wintery spell. The entire world has caught cold. There was even snow in Baghdad in January, for the first time in recent memory. Austin, Texas enjoyed a non-scorching (and very rainy) summer last year. Arctic sea-ice is mounting a comeback.

Is global warming therefore a hoax, as Sen Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma believes? Most scientists do not think so. According to the Times article, experts attribute the winteriness to the vagaries of weather, as well as La NiƱa. The overall warming trend, they believe, will stand firm. (Another point that the skeptics could raise, however: predictions of strong hurricane activity in the Gulf have been wrong for two years running, if Polprint's memory serves. Global warming is widely expected to result in fiercer hurricanes.)

In any case, the cold spell now gives George Bush an excuse, if he ever needed one, to run out the clock on climate change. Should he set foot in Massachusetts, his reception will now be chilly in more ways than one.

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