May 02 2012
When our apple and plum tree began to bud out in mid-March, I knew we were having an unusually early spring along the Front Range. I’ve lived here since 1994 and haven’t seen trees leafed out earlier than mid-April, and certainly not late March. We did have a snowy October through December, but January through March were unseasonably warm and dry, often with overnight temperatures well above average.
This isn’t just a local phenomenon. The cherry blossoms came and went in Washington D.C. at least several weeks earlier than normal, and I even read a story about the sun rising a full two days early in Greenland, close to the Arctic Circle. Now, that has nothing to do with an early spring as much as scientists surmise it has to do with climate change and the polar ice cap melting enough to lower the horizon line so that the sun appeared to rise earlier than usual. Freaky!
Yesterday, on May 1, I experienced the greenest, most wildflower-filled hike I’ve experienced on this early date along the Front Range. I hope this doesn’t mean a brown July, or a horrific drought in August. I am staying open to what happens, or doesn’t happen. One never knows what nature has in store.
Five years ago I attended a panel discussion at the University of Colorado where top scientists spoke of the accelerating nature of climate change. They predicted that if nothing is done, within five years (umm…now) negative feedback loops will make it impossible to remedy the damaging effects of global warming. Well, not much has been done in the last five years and it doesn’t appear that large-scale remedies are anywhere on the (sinking) horizon. Nothing to do, except to contemplate an early spring.