…but not because we’ve got six more weeks of winter.  You can’t have more of something that you haven’t had any of to start with.  They should see their shadow because the sun is shining and it’s almost seventy degrees.  There is no reason any self-respecting groundhog would have repaired to his burrow for the winter this year in Alabama.   It’s been so mild that groundhogs should have ditched hibernation (if in fact they do hibernate this far south) for nibbling the spring weeds that started to appear almost as soon as the grass went brown and dormant. 

Like a lot of other places in the lower 48 (but not in Eastern Europe, or Alaska), central Alabama has been extraordinarily mild this winter.  But not so mild that January set any records for high temperatures.  Starting roughly in November, and lasting through April, Alabama’s weather is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates.  You never know what you might get.  The local paper carries the record highs and lows for the day (in records going back not much over a hundred years).   A couple of days ago there was an 82 degree difference between the record high (78) and record low (-4).   As warm as it seems, it’s been warmer, and in the recent past.  And it’s been a whole lot colder, too.  In the summer, which is far more predictably hot and miserable, there is not nearly the range between record highs and lows; they average 30-40 degrees in difference each day.  Meteorologists in Alabama should just issue a weather forecast sometime in May for highs in the 90’s, lows in the 70’s, chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, and take the rest of the summer off.  They’re only worth listening to when summer hasn’t set in.

Get prepared for the church of the apocalyptic, i.e., the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming, to shrilly warn that this sort of warmth is what can be expected if mankind keeps on with his original sin of existing (aside from the CO2 spewed out by our factories and cars, we also are little CO2 emitters, with every breath we take we sin, conveniently allowing the Church of AGW to sport an original sin doctrine that is as familiar and comfortable as the catechism of Judeo-Christianity).  Never mind that while the lower 48 have enjoyed a mild winter, Alaska just had the coldest January on record (again, in records not much older than a century), and Eastern Europe, populated by folks hardened by their routine experiences with brittle cold, has recently seen over a hundred die as a result of an especially severe cold snap.  Generally speaking, if some place is experiencing extreme warmth or cold, some other place is getting just the opposite, and it has nothing to do with climate change.  One season does not a climate trend make.  Even a decade or more of seasons is only a blink of the meteorological eye.

But let’s assume that AGW caused this localized, lower 48 warm spell, and further assume that it will be oft-repeated as the world’s climate heats up.  It’s hard to see how milder winters would be such a bad thing.  Wouldn’t colder winters, more like those in Alaska and Eastern Europe this year, be generally more detrimental to human welfare?  Oops, I keep forgetting.  The AGW catechism provides that mankind is inherently evil, thus his welfare is not worthy of entering the calculus.  But if winters get milder, noxious CO2 emissions should decline, as the use of fossil fuels for heat to survive them drastically declines.  Then might the earth get cold again?  This is all so confusing. 

I think we may have been better off with astrologers and shamans and Medieval priests trying to interpret the meanings to be gleaned from Mother Nature, and her unpredictable, arbitrary and capricious behavior.  They certainly could not have been worse than the pack of rabid AGW advocates we have now, who wrap their political views in the cloak of scientific reason.