Thursday, December 07, 2006

Times they are a changin'.

Un-seasonably warm. This was a phrase I had heard used many times over the years and perhaps it is a cautionary phrase. In our perception of ‘unusual’ weather patterns so often our anecdotal evidence is later confounded by the record keepers. Maybe now though those records will have to be rewritten.

In the garden and countryside autumn colour, or so it seems, now lasts days instead of weeks. Longer dryer summers give way to cooler wetter winters which also last longer too. Spring and autumn so often the best months to enjoy the great outdoors, seem to be squeezed unceremoniously between them.

This year for the first December in memory raspberry canes are still fruiting in the cold damp climate of north eastern England. The growers of those canes are surprised and confounded, and they are undecided about when best to prune them whether to follow the plant or the calendar.

Hedgehogs, because of the summer heat and drought have deferred raising their young till later in the year. As a consequence those youngsters have little chance of finding enough food to enable them to store the body fat which enables them to hibernate through the long winter. Many will therefore die, unless gardeners leave out food for them in the next few weeks and even then it may be too little too late for the hedgehog.

In the USA snow is already reaching towns it hardly ever touches whilst elsewhere other gardeners may still be picking tomatoes at Christmas time.

European lands are still waiting for the autumn rains to replenish their water courses and aquifers. Spring crops, flora and fauna will all suffer as a consequence.

Insects are able to evolve and therefore respond more quickly to the climate change than more their more complex predators. Scientists have been surprised how mosquitoes have evolved in only three generations breeding later in the year than they formally did, this enables them to beat the drought and emerge when the rains return.

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