What Our Jonquils Know About Climate Change

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Earlier this month (February 2017) the outdoor temperature was 77 degrees F.

Even in the previous month, January, the mercury often registered above 60 degrees — and rarely fell below high 40s to mid 50s.

This in East Tennessee! When I moved here in 1977, sub-zero temperatures were commonplace for January and even mid-February. (I remember being out at 3 a.m., delivering a morning newspaper. Then I prayed every day that the temperature would rise above 0 F.!)

Just checked my Weather Channel 15-day forecast. Starting Friday, temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s for almost all the rest of this month. It’s as if spring arrived a month and a half early.

Climate change is real. If you want to discuss whether it’s human-caused, I’ll listen. But don’t bother telling me it isn’t happening. The jonquils blooming in our yard know better!


What Our Jonquils Know About Climate Change — 6 Comments

  1. No, it’s not happening. Hope I got on your nerves this morning. Lol! Cheers my adorable friend. PS It would be hard to believe that it’s not human-caused… or at least in big part.

  2. My son and I have been talking quite a bit about this lately. After receiving your email, I decided to spend…well it was a couple hours…searching for historical temperature data for Knoxville and then looking it over.

    Previously, I’d found a website called “weather-warehouse.com”. There you can see historical weather data points such as temperature and snowfall organized by month and year. Strangely, their historical data for Knoxville goes back only as far as 1966 if I remember correctly. I suppose due to Tyson-Mcghee Airport, the weather data for Alcoa goes back much further to 1910 and so I thought, “Well that’s just 30 miles away”, and went with that data set.

    So I had this data and I thought, “Now what?” The only thing that came to mind was a spreadsheet that I could enter the data and an associated graph to display it. It was quite tedious to enter data for 107 years, but I did. Now this was for January only, that’s important to mention, but you were talking about Winter and that’s quite a wintery month, so it seemed an okay choice – I was only just trying to prove something to myself and to my son and not rattle the scientific realm anyway!

    I created 5 graphs: highest temperature recorded in January, lowest temperature, the average of all the high temperatures, the average of all the low temperatures, and finally the mean average – that last being an average of the two previous averages. And so I had this wandering graph of five zig-zagging lines of temperature. I must say that if you look at graphs of these temperature variables for 107 years, it is quite a mess…there is no obvious pattern at all, except that I like your temperature in Tennessee much more than mine in Michigan. And I must say that the temperatures swings quite wildly there. Did you know that in 1985, the lowest temperature recorded in January was -24 degrees F? But in that vary same month was a day with a recorded temperature of 69 degrees F? Wow. Thats a swing of almost 100 degrees F!

    So, I still had no idea what to look at further, and then I saw that my graph had a function called “trend line”. A little online searching led me to conclude that a linear trend line was best for my data set and so thats what I chose. Immediately a line appeared on each of the graphs. And here’s the part that I didn’t expect: all of the trend lines are falling! I must say that I for one was surprised by that outcome. I wish I had time to enter data for other places and even other months in Knoxville, but that will have to wait for another time altogether. As basic as my little experiment was, it begged more questions than it answered.

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