Monday, March 16, 2015

Precipitation's Black Swans

This morning I sent my sister in Boston a congratulatory email. "Boston sets new seasonal snow record: More than 9 feet and counting" I also wished her better luck next year. (You can interpret that however you want.) As a follow up, I checked on Minnesota's seasonal snowfall record. At Grand Portage State Park, in the Winter of 1949 - 50, they had 170" of snow fall. So, since more than 9 feet of snow is 108"+, Minnesota beats Massachusetts by about 5 feet of seasonal snow. I have no idea whether Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) will, over time, bring extreme events closer together or if different locations will just see their local extremes increase. Is Minnesota likely to face the prospect of a new record of 180" snowfall, leaving Massachusetts still trying to catch up? After all, the record-setting Duluth rainfall of 5" - 10" in June 2012 was only half to two-thirds of the 15"+ that fell on Hokah Minnesota in August 1977. Meanwhile, at the moment, we're enjoying unseasonably warm weather that has the promise of Spring in it. On the east side of our road is an ice free creek surrounded by brush and shrubs that are beginning to color up [notice the reds and golds?], although there's not yet any hint of greening up.

shrubs brighten their colors for Spring
shrubs brighten their colors for Spring
Photo by J. Harrington

At the same time, just across the road, much of the small pond into which the creek slowly flows is still ice covered but with enough open water to offer a welcome to returning waterfowl.

not quite ice out
not quite ice out
Photo by J. Harrington

While writing this and thinking about the fewer, more intense, storms we're told to expect with ACD, it occurred to me that I never did quite finish reading The Black Swan. Now I'm beginning to wonder if we're headed toward a future in which Black Swan events start to occur with more frequency. Probably be a good idea to finish reading the book. Meanwhile, as the days lengthen, we can look forward to

Morning Warming

By Joyce Sidman 
sunwarm on back
sunwarm on back legs
sunwarm on back legs loosens
            my heart
            my heart beats
            my heart beats faster
            in sunwarm my heart beats faster
                        I flex
                        I flex legs
                        I flex legs loose with sunwarm
                        I drink dew from dripping leaves
                        I beat
                                                What am I?  

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