"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Facts Behind the Folklore

It warmed up considerably yesterday and today it is supposed to reach 0C, (certainly a far cry from the -20+ temperatures we have been seeing) - but have no fear, we are expecting temperatures back in the negative range by Saturday!

There are many weather proverbs, often as rhyming couplets and colorful statements linking a natural event with a meteorological condition. They of course originated centuries ago when people watched the skies, oceans, plants, and animals for clues of what to expect weatherwise. Interestingly, scientists now finally admit that many of these proverbs are true.

Proverb: If there is thunder in winter, it will snow 7 days later

This is Thunder, he's a winter-white dwarf hamster
This is actually true 70 percent of the time, especially from the east coast to the plains. Thunder in winter is an anomaly often caused by a big dip and a big rise in the jet stream. As cold air moves south, it replaces warm air and lifts it up, often causing thunderstorms. The cold air behind the front settles in. Depending on the strength of the front, it may hang around for many days. When the next weather system arrives several - if not exactly 7 - days later, temperatures may still be cold enough to cause the moisture in the system to fall as snow.

Proverb: Wind in the east, good for neither man nor beast

During summer and winter in mid-latitude regions, the prevailing wind blows from the west. When the wind comes from the east, a low-pressure system accompanied by precipitation usually follows. The belief behind the proverb dates from ancient Romans who would not conduct official business when the wind blew from the east. They thought it made people more irritable and unsettled.

Proverb: A ring around the Moon means rain will come real soon.

A ring, or halo, around the Moon is caused when the light of the Moon refracts through ice crystals present in high-level clouds. Although these clouds do not produce precipitation, they often occur in advance of an approaching low-pressure system, which often brings precipitation in the form of rain or snow.
Proverb: A year of snow, crops will grow.

This one is pretty obvious, but I appreciate it's positive spin!
A several-inch layer of snow contains more air than ice. Trapped between the interlocking snowflakes, the air serves to insulate the plants beneath. When the snow melts, the water helps to keep the ground moist.

Very Interesting

Gordon Restoule has lived on the Dokis First Nation Reservation near Sudbury, Ontario for 73 years. His father and grandfather taught him to watch the animals and the skies and use his observations to predict the weather. For most of his life, his interpretations have been nearly 90 percent accurate.

He now claims that climate change is interfering with nature and the traditional habits of some animals. As a result, some proverbs have become unreliable. For example, years ago, if owls were heard in a swamp at night, he was reasonably confident that rain was coming. "A screeching owl indicates cold or storm" Now, he hears them so frequently that he claims they don't signify anything. In the article he further relates other once-reliable signs which can no longer be depended on. At one time deer would head for cover among low-branched trees, such as hemlocks and pines during a cold spell or in advance of a storm. Now, deer gather under hardwood trees with higher canopies, such as oak, which do not provide as much protection. He attributes this change to warmer winters.

No comments: