Spring in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Spring 2008 photo

I recently returned to a visit with the family in Wisconsin. After more than 100 inches of snow in what was one of the snowiest winters since 1979, very few people were happy to see April snow showers. But we were. After a few grey wet Dublin winters, we enjoyed the April snowfall. The snow only lasted a few hours and spring came back in full force a few days later with temperatures in the 70s. Sometimes I wonder whether the reason "global warming" didn't catch the public imagination in these parts of the U.S. is the fact that any kind of warming sounds good during the bleakest four months of the year. Also, in a place where a slight wind shift over an icy great lake can drop the temperature tens of degrees within seconds it is difficult to imagine that a few degrees gradual warming in the climate which lies beneath this chaotic weather can be significant. But even here, one can suspect that gradual changes are taking place. Racine's zoo pond was used as an ice rink in the 80s but it hasn't frozen solid enough since. Previously rare migratory Canada Geese are now a year-round pest. Reduced Great lakes ice cover may be leading to more evaporation, more snow and about a meter drop in average lake levels since the 1980s, but we've only had comprehensive Great Lakes ice cover records for a few decades.

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