Mick, I need a really smart answer to a really stupid question. How can I represent climate change in Maine either by weather patterns or bird migration or water levels or what? It need to be something local and measureable and preferably visual. Hopefully, XXXXXXX
From: Mick Womersley
Sent: Sun 4/6/2008 6:37 AM
Subject: RE: climate change
So far, Maine's climate change impacts are complex but quantifiable and some are statistically significant.
On average spring is earlier and summers are now warmer. Precipitation has increased, including snow, which has recently, I feel, lent some people to mistakenly believe that winters are getting colder when they're more likely just slightly whiter.
The earlier spring is local and certainly measurable. Earlier ice-out days on rivers and lakes are also quite distinct and statistically significant if you use time-series regression analysis.
I feel we will eventually find that statistically speaking this seemingly hard winter and seemingly late spring are still within the reasonable boundaries of a warming trend, ie, not an outlier. Climate statistics are related to weather statistics in much the same way your idea of the balance of your bank account is related to the actual number on the statement when it comes in -- until you do the math, it's always not what you think.
Here are some links with the data you seek:
Ice-out study: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2005/3001/
Evidence for early spring: www.cleanair-coolplanet.org/documents/spring.pdf