Tuesday, 4 December 2007

My Aching Back Department: the Coldest Winter in Years Has Started

Last week Environment Canada announced that this winter should be the coldest in a good 15 years. Doesn’t seem to gibe with global warming at face value, but one of the scenarios turning up as meteorologists play with their models is for more severe weather everywhere.

Melting ice caps could also play havoc with the Gulf Stream, which keeps Northern Europe cities much warmer than the cities with the same latitude on the North American continent: Montreal at 45’31” north is almost exactly the same latitude as Milan’s 45’27” north, but it gets much colder here than it does in the Italian city. If the Gulf Stream is diminished or rerouted the result might be a much colder Europe.

But changes in the Gulf Stream have nothing to do what we may be up against, Dave Phillips of Environment Canada said in predicting a return to “normal” winters. Colder water temperatures in the Pacific—La Nina effect—are what’s to blame, apparently.

Whatever the cause, it certainly seems that winter has begun with a vengeance. Montreal broke records yesterday with nearly 30 cm (12 inches) of snow falling, and more is due today. Schools closed down, even the inner city Commission scolaire de Montréal which practically never closes because of snow.

Oh yes: the reason this is being posted later than usual is because it took me more than two hours to clean the walks and the snow in front of the garage...



No comments: