How Oysterville Spells Global Warming

Jan 19, 2014 | 3 comments

Near the Fire Pit

January 18, 2014 at Bradley’s

The first daffodils of the year here in Oysterville actually burst forth last year!  It was the day after Christmas that the first yellow blossoms beckoned brightly from Bradley’s back yard.  Who would have believed that those bright harbingers of spring would show up just five days after the calendar said it was officially winter?

Now, almost a month later, there are clumps of daffodils in a number of places back by “the circle” as Bradley calls the lawn and planting area around his fire pit.  But it’s still much too soon.  Granted, it’s been a mild winter so far, but it’s early days yet.  As local biologist/botanist Kathleen Sayce told the Community Historians last week, this is a period of great instability weather-wise all over the globe.  A storm bringing us six feet of snow is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Given a choice, I think I would rather go with the daffodils and an early spring.  However, if those cheery bloom are an indication of Global Warming… maybe not so much.  Oysterville gardens are not the only place experiencing a January flash of yellow.  Tom Friedman of the New York Times lamented the daffodils growing off-season in his garden. “Don’t know about you, but when I see things in nature that I have never seen before in my life, like daffodils blooming in January, it starts to feel creepy,” he wrote a few days ago.

Along the Fence

More Daffodils on their Way

Newspapers in Texas and California and far off England have also been reporting the unseasonable bloom of daffodils this January.  One article by daffodil expert Keith Kridler talked about the “chilling hours,”  “water and soil temperatures” and “number of sunny days” needed for daffodils to sprout and grow.  That same article also said:   Many countries and states are also tracking the egg laying and hatching of frog eggs due to water temperatures or the various species of insects hatching out of shallow water. VERY similar results as compared to what daffodils need to sprout and grow.   YIKES!  Does that mean the mosquitoes are already on their way?

On the other hand, in the Nation journalist Michael Corcoran wrote in an article called “The Daffodil Delusion: Sensationalizing Global Warning”:  While it is clearly good news that attention, long overdue, is being given to the fact that humans are causing climate change, it is dangerous to use an unseasonably warm winter as evidence of the problem. The reason is simple: The current weather is one of the least compelling bits of evidence for climate change and, in fact, may not be evidence at all.

            Well, all I know is that on our side of the street not single daffodil shoot is yet showing.  Besides that, when I was over there taking pictures, I was shivering in my big down vest…  It certainly hasn’t been feeling much warmer than usual to me.  Which makes me wonder if those early daffodil blooms might have less relationship to warmth and more to using fresh horse manure for fertilizer… at least here in Oysterville.  (He does; we don’t.)

In any event, I’m voting to skip the six feet of snow and go with harbingers of spring, at least for this year.

3 Comments

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    A week ago I stepped out of our Ilwaco back door and I could SMELL Spring. It smelled clean and sweet. The birds were chirping and it FELT like Spring. But here’s the thing, we don’t have nearly enough snow pack in the mountains to provide proper water. I am not a fan of snow at our altitude, but if we don’t get a lot of rain down here and some cold enough air up there to make it snow, we will be hurting this Summer.

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  2. Nancy

    Drought has been declared in our San Francisco Bay area of California. We shut down our automatic drip irrigation systems last week and are hand watering only those plants that must have water to survive. We lost a few plants when the temps dropped way below normal. We had covered the citrus! Daffodils have poked up green shoots as have crocus and grape hyacinths. Bulbs planted this fall in containers are just beginning to pop up. Next, to explore instant hot water device for the kitchen faucet. Give up my daily shower? I don/t think so, at least not yet.

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  3. Clay Nichols

    Thank You, Sydney, for another entertaining and thought provoking piece. I suspect that those coming from the perspective of a historian might have an advantage in distinguishing decades-long climate trends from short term weather. Many of us dwelling in the present have some difficulty in remembering and applying the arbitrary (if somewhat simplistic), 10 year distinction between the two. This difficulty in understanding climate change is most complicated, however, by the fact that it is the result of both natural astronomical variations and human contributions to the atmosphere. We tend to be so polarized in our views on climate change that we don’t like to acknowledge the totality of all the factors which can drive it, both natural and human-caused. Causing us to ponder this is a good thing; once again you’ve done us all a service.

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