How are you sensing climate change?
Growing up, there was nothing more exciting than waking up to a fresh layer of snow on the ground and rushing downstairs to turn on the news and find out if we got a snow day. In elementary school, we got 5 to 7 a year and a few delayed starts. There would be a good snowfall at the beginning of the winter and then snow would stay on the ground until spring arrived as it was never warm enough for the snow to fully melt and we never went too long without another snowfall. Snowfalls were never truly crazy, an intense blizzard occasionally, but usually, just several inches coming several times a winter. In middle school, we probably had 4 or 5 snow days. There was more freezing rain instead of snow mixed in, a few more cold but dry spells, and a few good storms. By high school, we probably had 2 or 3 snow days and a few delays. The snow came sporadically: big, record-breaking snowfalls, followed by periods of no snow or periods of rain and sleet instead of snow. As quickly as the snow came, it would leave, and instead of powdery white, the streets would be a murky, slushy gray. In college, I am yet to have a snow day 2 years in. I did move a little south down to Philadelphia, but even at home, the snow does not come as frequently or steadily as it did. There’s an increasing contrast between periods of snow and no snow, periods of warm and cold. It seems to either be hitting the 60s for a week in mid-January or we are receiving frostbite warnings on the news in February. Either a wave of precipitation bringing a foot of snow is coming along the coast, or there is no precipitation for weeks on end. I fully believe it will not be Zoom that pushes snow days to the brink of extinction but the sporadic and unpredictable nature of what is now a normal New England winter.
How do these changes make you feel?
Honestly, it scares me a little, the more and more sporadic weather. The more sporadic the weather gets, the more I am reminded of a dystopian novel, and the less I believe the explanation “that’s just how New England weather is.” We are no longer predicting what climate change has the capability to do, but instead witnessing it head-on in all its horrifying unpredictability.
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