The Thaw

The ThawOn our third day with a high above freezing, we’re finally coming out of the deep freeze. We have city water for the first time in over a month. My mind seems to melt with the drifts, losing the hardness needed to survive the endless cold. I soak up the warmth and crave more. Then it occurs to me that it’s possible I won’t live to see another freeze like the one we’ve just come through. The news is full of predictions of centuries of warming for the planet. Of course we could be back in the icebox next week, but suddenly this possibility isn’t so unwelcome.

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3 thoughts on “The Thaw

  1. That’s an exquisite photo. Makes me want to paint it. We’re having historic lows here too but I only need to stay indoors or warm up the trusty Subaru a bit before venturing out. I’m glad you have water at last.

  2. While I’m writing emails and commentary on global warming, I thought about this post and I thought you might be interested in this figure from the third IPCC assessment report (2001):
    http://www.ipcc.ch/present/graphics/2001syr/large/05.22.jpg

    This figure is from the Synthesis report in this context: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/vol4/english/037.htm

    In other words, the IPCC generally believes the first graph is the mostly likely, but the other two are also likely. However, the actual impact varies across the planet.

    Your reference above to ‘not living to see another freeze like this one’ assumes only the first shift in climate, however, the other two are likely, and the second would imply more and worse freezes than the current one.

    As 5 of the top 10 “longest snow cover streaks” in Denver have occurred since 1980, I’m guessing this type of winter is actually becoming more common, and the second temperature distribution change in the IPCC figure is our current trend.
    (Snow cover streaks: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/bou/?n=consec_snowog)

  3. Thanks Kate! I wasn’t really trying to make a prediction, but what if the future falls somewhere in those graphs? They cover quite a range of possibilities. Even if there is another long stretch of cold like this one, and I am around to experience it – I’ll probably try to appreciate that one as if it were the last. It’s my nature (and can be infuriating, ask Ann ;).

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