Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Like politics, all global warming is local


at dusk
Originally uploaded by tamjpn.
Here in Hampton Roads, it is currently a balmy 46F. While this doesn't set a record, it is well above the average for the 20th of December. Two articles in the Washington Post struck me this morning: Washington Warming to Southern Plants and In Balmy Europe, Feverish Choruses of 'Let It Snow.'

From the first article, we learn that trees in the DC metro area are now taking after their southern counterparts:
A warming climate in the Washington area is beginning to affect the area's trees, with cold-loving species finding the weather less welcoming and southern transplants thriving, according to findings released yesterday by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

In a revised map of "hardiness zones" -- bands of similar temperatures where similar trees are likely to grow in winter -- the foundation reclassified the entire Washington area in the same zone as parts of North Carolina and Texas. In 1990, the region was on the border of northern and southern growing zones, but a foundation official said that has changed after 15 years of balmy winter weather.
And, in the second article we learn that Moscow is experiencing grey, but no snow:
Scattered flurries teased Moscow on Tuesday afternoon with the promise of a real winter, the birthright of a city whose people take pride in trudging through snow and in ice fishing and cross-country skiing in white countryside beyond the outer beltway.

The winter of 2006 has yet to arrive, however, and Muscovites are deeply discombobulated. "I want snow. I want the New Year's feeling," said Viktoria Makhovskaya, a street vendor who sells gloves and mittens. "This is a disgusting winter. I don't like it at all."
This is climate change, this is global warming, I assert, experienced at the local level. Just like we can look at politics from a national or macro level, we can look at global warming at the macro level. But, like politics, global warming is felt at the local level.

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