The Winter that Wasn’t

That’s what they’re calling it up in Minnesota.  I have commented in several posts this summer and spring about the unnaturally warm conditions we’ve been experiencing here in Omaha, but it’s been even more pronounced farther north.  We made our first excursion up to our hideaway a couple of weeks ago, earlier than has been our custom in past years, to check that all is well—that no trees have fallen on the cabin or the wood shed, that the canoes are still safe in the tree house, that no critters have made messes in the boat house—and found everything in ship shape.  We were amazed, however, to see the results of the extremely mild winter.  We had beautiful weather and were able to hike around with only medium-weight jackets, so we were able to have a good look at the entire surroundings.  The most prominent difference was immediately obvious looking down at the lake through the trees, and when I went down to the shore to see if I could trust what I thought I’d seen, I found that there was indeed no longer any ice anywhere on the lake.  I have never seen “ice-out” occur this early during the course of the several decades of my coming here.

Last year we made our first trip up on April 20, one year ago tomorrow, and here’s what it looked like then.

This is, for me, a serious concern.  Everyone I talked to—year-round residents at the lake and others in town—confirmed that they have never in memory seen it so warm so early.  I’m worried that the lake temperature may well rise to unprecedented temperatures, which could have very serious deleterious effects on its entire ecosystem, from the microflora and –fauna up to the top predators that depend on the whole natural food chain for their very existence.  Only time will tell, and I will surely keep you posted.  At present we’re planning our next trip for June, but I may be able to manage a short one in May.  We shall see…

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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14 Responses to The Winter that Wasn’t

  1. We have the same concerns here in Ontario. I must admit that I really enjoyed having such a mild winter, but I wonder what the consequences will be.

  2. It would seem that where ever you are on this planet we have all seen un-seasonal weather …..and not just the odd seasonal glitch but sustained change in cycle. I suppose it is easy to say ‘Climate Change’ but I wonder. What I am concerned about is this change to the natural balance to flora and fauna…..again it is easy to say that some benefit whilst others suffer, but they all interlock. Yep…the winter that never was over here in the U.K. too.

    • krikitarts says:

      The whole world’s ecosystems are so interlinked that they can’t help but be affected by each other’s fluctuations. I just hope the balance doesn’t swing too far in any single direction.

  3. Both photos are beautiful and really give a sense of the difference between last year and this year. It has been a wild winter…wild in that there wasn’t one. I, too, worry about the ecosystem. And I fear there will be more bugs this year than ever because there wasn’t a sustained freeze. We’ll see.

    • krikitarts says:

      The insects and other small arthropods provide a very good indication–and there were predictions for a horrendous croop of ticks. We found many on ourselves and on Limo, and it’s really pretty scary. I’m worried about what the rest of the year will bring, especially regarding mosquitos, deer flies, and horse flies…

  4. Meanderer says:

    The weather does seem to be doing strange things. It’s a good idea to record it all I think.

  5. Such a striking comparison. I know my parents have experienced a similarly mild winter in Maine. It is worrisome, indeed.

    • krikitarts says:

      I’m afraid it’s everywhere and, if it’s not, sooner or later everything’s going to be affected. Maybe we can help to raise awareness. Earth day’s a great time to be thinking of this.

  6. Jeff Sinon says:

    The winter here in NH was just as “wasn’t.” I haven’t seen ice out on our lake this early since we’ve lived here.

  7. krikitarts says:

    I’m really interested to find out what our other eyes out there report as the year progresses. I do so hope that the summer and fall will develop relatively normally!

  8. Excellent comparison, really like the second image though. Crazy weather all around, here in Wellington we have had a total of probably 10 days of summer.

    • krikitarts says:

      Hey–I remember very well what summer can be like, there in the “south.” How does that compare with Invercargill’s summer? Or Oban’s, for that matter? Great to see you here again!

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