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Winter, Weather (sic) Fore Art Thou?

Hello All (with apologies to Will Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet),

If you look back in my on-line BVO Farm Journal, you will see that I have been compiling the weather data that I recorded in our first quarter century here. I have been adding more factors as I dig them out from old hand-written journals, and well log; these factors include; total precipitation, drought warning and watch notices, total winter’s snowfall, and first snow that needed shovelled ( 1/2 inch or 1.25 cm).

The more of this data I enter, the more I am astounded at this measureable and observable change in weather patterns in this temporally relative blink of the eyes. I chose to divide our 25 year tenure here here into two climatic periods: 1) the 14 years spanning 1983-1996 (typical cold winters), and 2) the 11 years since 1996 (atypical warm winters). I present these five statements, comparing Period “1” with Period “2”, as indicators of how 2008’s climate will be in the Blue Ridge Mountains of SC Pa. I will report back on how these statements compare to the actual weather we experience in the next year.

1) Period 1 -Shovel-able snow by 1 December = 50% probability
Period 2 – Shovel-able snow by 1 December = 36% probability

2) Period 1 – First frost by 1 October = 42% probability
Period 2 – First frost by 1 October = 27% probability

3)Period 1 – Killing frost by 1 November = 78% probability
Period 2 – Killing frost by 1 November = 45% probability

4)Period 1 – Above Average (40 inches or 100cm) snowfall = 36% probalility
Period 2 – Above Average (40 inches or 100cm) snowfall = 18% probablity

5)Period 1 – Years that “Agricultural Drought” is noted = 14% probability
Period 2 – Years that “Agricultural drought” is noted = 45% probability

Well, that is what a simple farmer sitting up on a hill growing apples has noticed with just a thermometer, and rain gauge, and a measuring stick. When I use this computer to take me to NOAA, NASA, and NWS websites, I am astounded with the satellite imagery, and interpretations presented. Oh, by the way I did have geologic and meterologic training in college, grad school, and during my 8 years navigating for the United States Coast Guard. Like Bob Dylan sings, “you don’t have to be a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowin’“.

Now what do I think this is going to do to the global food supply? Stay tuned – I’ll write about that next week, because I have to go out and pick some Romaine Lettuce ( which has continued growing, even after I took off the floating row cover). This is the latest I have ever harvested salad outside….
Thank You

Thom Marti

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