This blog post is two pronged, as it will deal with two topics, both related to the same idea. That idea is weather, and it especially revolves around how much warmer it has been lately.
Image by ddkkpp via Flickr
As most people who have read this blog have come to see, I come from Saskatchewan. That rectangular shaped province in the middle of the prairies, sandwiched neatly between Alberta and Manitoba. While we have a great number of attractions, tourist sites, resources, industry and more, this province is known for two stereotypical things; it is incredibly flat, and the weather is incredibly harsh. Alright, we also have weird terms for common objects like Vico for chocolate milk, Bunny Hug for a hoodie and ‘flip a shit hook’ for pulling a U-turn.
Image via Wikipedia
Focusing on weather. Normally in this neck of the woods (or, rather, grasslands) normals for the period of early January are highs of -10 Celsius and overnight lows of -21 Celsius. Occasionally, we get socked hard with overnight lows of -30 Celsius. I’ve even lived through nights as cold as -40 (once you hit -40, it doesn’t matter about converting from Celsius to Fahrenheit). 21 days straight as a matter of fact. Presently, however, we are seeing daytime highs of +6 Celsius and overnight lows of -1 Celsius. Essentially, we just finished having a brown Christmas (still true as this weekend is Ukrainian Christmas). Parts of the province are even setting records, as Maple Creek, in the south western corner of the province, had a daytime high of +15 yesterday.
While this warmer weather is great, I am still wary of it. This time of year is the cold and flu season, and the colder weather actually makes it harder for viral infection to survive (though, I do not recommend standing outside naked in a snow storm to test any theories of destroying viral bacteria in the body because you’ll end up with another problem; hypothermia). Warmer weather means that the chance of getting sick is higher. We’re caught off guard, in a way, because the warmer weather fills us with this feeling of euphoria. Shuck off the parkas, bring out the fall denim jackets, it’s warm out. One thing I’ve learned in this province, the weather can change at any time.
I am also left wary, because we still have 75 days left until the first official day of spring. March 21 isn’t that far away, but there’s still enough time for us to get hit hard with normal temperatures and even below normal temperatures. February, as I have come to learn over the years, can be a vicious mistress. ‘Tis the month of St. Valentine’s Day, a day of love and companionship, but here in Saskatchewan February has a cold, cold heart. Maybe this time she’ll warm up a bit.
That was the first point on this topic about the weather. Now onto the second topic, which is actually much more serious.
This portion, which is actually much shorter because I do not claim to be a scientist, deals with climate change. I’d really like to invite any climate change deniers to study the weather patterns for Saskatchewan over the past 25 years. There has been drastic changes, ones that do not come with natural flow of weather. Winters have been much more tolerable, while summers have often been much more damp. Rain fall has increased, we’ve even experienced cooler temperatures during the summer (with the exception of last summer). When it does grow warmer outside, above 30 Celsius, we often take note of the increase in humidity. You can tell the difference in this province. We joke that ‘it’s a dry heat’ but that’s because we’re used to it. Breathing becomes harder with higher humidity. There is climate change happening. We just need to open our eyes and view the world around us. Things are different.
We have to change our own habits in order to help the Earth survive.