Things Have Changed

Sunset on a hot day (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

It’s October but you wouldn’t know it by stepping outdoors. We’re still running the air conditioner and wearing summer clothes. Today’s low temperature of 68oF is the normal high for October 1 in Pittsburgh. Our 90oF high will be 22 degrees above normal. It feels like August.

It didn’t used to be this way. Do you remember when you used to turn on the heat in September or suffer because you delayed to save money? Ten years ago our furnace broke and we were cold! I wrote this on 1 October 2009:

The weather has been getting colder every day for a week.  This morning it was in the upper 30s at dawn.  By now most of you have turned on your heat, but not us.  We’re toughing it out until we get a new furnace.  The old one won’t turn on and rather than pay to fix it I thought we could cope without it until the furnace man comes with a new one on Friday.

from “Huddle,” Outside My Window, 1 October 2009

Without a functioning furnace in late September 2009 we wore coats indoors and huddled under blankets at night. That was normal weather back then.

For the past ten years our climate has been changing, but so gradually that we only remark on the extremes: unbearable heat, super low cold, or incredibly wet weather. We humans accept the new normal so quickly that we lose sight of what’s happening.

It’s good to look back ten years and realize it was normal to wear coats on October 1.

Things have changed.

(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the original)

4 thoughts on “Things Have Changed

  1. And doesn’t it seem like now there is no transition between seasons. One day you’re running the AC, the next you need the furnace.

  2. 50 yrs ago I attended 4 summers of classes where global warming was part of the curriculum – same warnings – Amazon forest, warming oceans, melting ice, and on and on. Steps to take – recycling, limit family size, etc. What was begun – car downsizing so we bought SUVs, recycling costs money so put it in the trash. So???

  3. The migration cycles seem to be out of whack. Our chimney swifts left in mid-August, as usual. This evening I heard a familiar twittering overhead and spotted 6 swifts circling . What’s going on?

    1. Donna, I have seen this too, though not as many chimney swifts as I saw in August. If the weather’s warm and insects are flying they’ll linger in the north. I suspect they’ll be gone soon.

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