Sleeping and Skiing

hiber_denbear_l Sometimes, there is news that leaves you confused as to whether you should be happy or sad. This is one of those times, when we’ve been informed that 2007 will be the joint sixth warmest year on record.

Now at first glance, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. So you’re wondering why I could be ever happy about this. Well, considering that when the year started, scientists were predicting that 2007 would be the hottest year on record, I can definitely see an upside.

Mid-year came, and still it was only reduced to likely be the second on record. Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia believed that 2007 would only be beaten by 1998, the warmest year on record. Mind you, NASA believe that 2005 was a smidge warmer than 98.

Nevertheless, the fact that 2007 has come in joint sixth with 2006, after 2005, 2003, 2002 and 2004, I’m jumping for joy!

The heat blitz at the beginning of the year has been tied to a combination of global warming and an El Nino warming of the Pacific Ocean. This meant that the northern hemisphere suffered from an abnormally warm winter.

This same warming is believed to be at blame for the unusually high levels of winter ice-melt in the Arctic, which saw the clearing of the Northwest Passage for the first time in human existence.

From an environmental standpoint, these events were bad enough, but if you were a European skier, than it just got worse. Resorts opened late, and weren’t even able to use their snow-making machines due to the heat.

This year though, Switzerland has seen more than half of their resorts open 10 days ago, after good early snows and freezing temperatures. Northern Europe resorts, such as Hafjell, have opened weeks before they had last year.

But good news is also for the bears, who had been planning on a decent sleep for once. Bears in a Bulgarian conservation park are starting to doze off, moving in to their hibernations cycles on time. This is a bonus for the bears whose last hibernation was disturbed due to rising temperatures.

“Four of the bears are sleeping already. The weather was a bit warm but last week it became colder and it snowed so they have fallen asleep,” said Raya Stoilova of the “Four Paws” foundation of 24 bears in a conservation park.

All in all, I can join my bear-brethren in a healthy sleep tonight, knowing that just maybe, things could get better.


Reuters via ENN – 2007 set to be 6th warmest year on record

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