Here comes the spring. Behind us almost snowless winter in Poland – a perfect one to spend in the city. For me at least. I do agree that first snowfall is nice and much welcomed. The world becomes all white, pristine, all the city noises are muted and it’s all so bright and fairytale-like. Unfortunately this wonderful landscape doesn’t last for too long. Soon delicate white powder becomes a shapeless muddy heap “decorated” with yellow and brown spots with a hint of soot. Bleah! Why to miss snow in the city then? Yet, so many times this season I heard irritated comments such as: “what kind of winter is that supposed to be?”, “there is no winter this year” and even “there is no weather! this cannot be called a weather at all!”.

It’s an Exaggeration!

Last year, in mid July, I over heard such conversation on the street: “Well, I don’t mind 25 C. It’s acceptable to me. But this temperature?! 31 C is just outrageous. It’s an Exaggeration!” My question: who has exaggerated to unnerve this poor women?! Reveal yourself! Was it God, Mother Nature or the Ecologists? Or perhaps our dear government? I believe we all have such a wishful attitude toward the weather. Our perfect vision of what it should look like on each day of each month. And whole bunch of groundless expectations that someone (who?) will make this vision come true. I can understand that we have anticipations toward other people. But how on Earth can we make sense of expectations from the Forces of Nature? Isn’t that some kind of emotional sabotage – after all, at certain point, we’re doomed to have our weather-dreams shattered.

“It’s all because in the past winters were real winters, with freeze and snow. And now the winters are all mix of cool and warm days” – I heard recently from a friend. How many of you have ever said anything like that? It only proves two things:

  • We have poor memory and even poorer knowledge of history. It’s true – in the past there were many freezing, snowy winters. But there were also many winters with mediocre temperatures and snowfall. This past one is nothing new to the the history of Polish climate.
  • One cannot please everyone. I know many people, including me, who’re more than thrilled about such mild winter season.

Here are few facts on what historically climate in Poland used to be:

  • from longer time perspective: in this central Europe area there were: glaciers, there were tropics and there was a dessert
  • once dug into a bit fresher chunk of history one learns that:
    • in 974 the winter was “…heavy, unusually rich and burdened with snow, it cut all seas, ponds, lakes and marshes with deep ice, from the very first of November and lasted until the equinox, to astonishment and amaze of all people, as an outstanding and unusual phenomenon”.* It clearly confirms information from other sources about general climate warming in X-XII century period. And winters like the one in 2010 were rather unusual.
    • XII and XIII century were outstandingly wet. Here is how in the year 1253 in the Chronicles of Dlugosz a major flood is described “…one that haven’t been seen in Poland […] since Easter (20th of April) till 25th of July, in each and every area of Poland it was raining day and night; Because of this neverending rainfall there was a major overflow of all waters, […] so that one could travel throughout all plateaus and lowland on a boat, as if those were rivers.”** There were few more years like that to remember in this period, for example year 1270 and its’ great floods.
    • XVII century in historical sources is mentioned as the “little ice age”. Basic mean of transport were sleighs – until late April. One could use them even the cross the deeply frozen Baltic sea. Frozen Great Belt let the army of Charles X, king of Sweden, cross the sea and conquer Copenhagen.

Global warming In my family house it is believed that there is no global warming. That it’s a boogeyman invented by media and by some ecologic terrorists (most probably lobbed by evil corporations). But sometimes it’s hard not to fall for such conclusion, after all the disinformation one hears in mass media:

  • in dry hot summer – I can hear it’s due to the global warming
  • in wet, rainy summer – It’s caused by global warming
  • in mild winter season – that it’s caused by global warming
  • in cold, snowy winter – that it’s caused by global warming (?) because the arctic air influence on our climate has increased.

I’m not a climatologist, but I got engaged with the subject enough to associate weather changes with climate cycles, sun activity and Milankovic cycles, that is with most of factors influencing weather changes. But even a laymen may notice, that recent climate alterations aren’t that natural on the whole (natural meaning not influenced by men). They are more dynamic, more intense. Here is graphic illustrating temperature anomaly record (based on various sources – therefore different curves) throughout last 2 millennia.

źródło / source:

źródło / source:

Does men influence the climate? – it clearly seems so. Is it the kind of influence we all wish for ergo weather on demand? – Not really. What can we do about it? – Not much I think. We might be able to change the whole model of agricultural economy through pressure on changes of our feeding habits. But how could we stop process of icebergs melting? Shall we all stop using cars and planes? To me it’s more than unrealistic vision. Summary What’s the conclusion of this climate contemplation? In the past as well as currently the weather was various. And there is no point to take this weather moods personally. We have no influence anyway – except for that unwanted associated with too high concentration of carbon dioxide. So I say, following advice of David Stein Rastl – let’s better enjoy the climate – every single day of it. And as my friend – an amateur of winter motorbiking – say: “There is no bad weather. There are only people that wear unsuitable clothes.”

*Annales seu cronicae incliti Regni Poloniae, v. 1, p. 110.
**ditto, v. 1, p. 282