Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Let's Talk About the Weather

No really, the weather... I do want to talk about the weather. In fact I was talking about it in another group-blog where one was supposed to talk about anything in an open thread and I blabbered about the weather, and then realized it wasn't quite the nonsense I'd intended to post, so I thought why not copy-paste it in my own blog. With some modifications.
I thought spring had followed after a mere two weeks of winter after Christmas (ok, there had been some snow in early Nov like every winter I have spent in Europe... nine of them). Even the allergic have started sneezing, so the flora must have started pollinating prematurely, and I was even told so by the Allergy Specialist I'd visited earlier this month (I was actually supposed to visit her after my allergy season got over, i.e., in June). But the weather forecasts said the temperature was supposed to go down today, and it was supposed to rain and then snow all night… and they've forecast snow all week. I’m sitting inside, so I don’t know whether it is colder now. No, I just checked-- doesn't really feel very cold outside. It hasn’t rained, at least not that I have noticed... no, I am quite sure it hasn't, and it has certainly not snowed yet. Probably tomorrow morning when I look out of the window, I’ll see snow all around.
I do like snow… good snow, not the slushy stuff that’s more rain than anything. But I do hate it when the snow melts under the traffic and refreezes in the morning to make crossing the slippery roads difficult. I also dislike bringing in a kilo of small stones with my shoes.. the stones that they scatter on the pavements to prevent people from slipping. But winter somehow doesn’t seem complete without snow and the cold any more. Am I actually looking forward to it?! Who would have thought?!
I met Othmar the other day in the underground station. He had threatened in 2005 that I would be persuaded to go skiing. When we met in summer 2006, he exclaimed that I had managed to lie low during winter just to avoid skiing (wasn't exactly true, but I wouldn't mind doing exactly what he accused me of). And there would be no escape for me this winter. So as I was saying, we bumped into each other on Thursday at the U-bahn station of the Westbahnhof and since I was early and was to wait for Fabien, and Othmar had time, we chatted for a bit. It was looking like there would be no winter and spring had started, I said gleefully, almost referring to the ski threat. He said no, he was convinced that it would get really cold in February and there would be snow. Lots of it. And then there would be no escape for me. We still have to see about that, but it certainly looks like it will snow sometime this week. If not tonight, perhaps tomorrow or later.
The weathermen here must be nervous. The forecasts haven't been that great of late. Large parts of Europe was reeling under storms (Kyrill) last week. We were supposed to get it on Thursday night. It was supposed to be terrible. I was up till 1 am on Thursday night (Friday "morning"), I could hear strong winds, but not much of the stuff that had happened in Germany. I didn't see much evidence in the morning either, although Martin at the lab said that he'd heard the storm all night, and that apparently it had been pretty bad in northern Austria. Well, one couldn't see much in Vienna. People were saying they were almost disappointed. I confess I was too. Kyrill had apparently moved on eastwards to the Czech Republic. Today's forecast was rain from the afternoon, turning into mild snow and proper snow at night. I can't be sure, but it doesn't look like there's been any rain, forget snow.
Austrians would of course be delighted. They can finally go skiing. They were all so glum because they couldn't go skiing nearby. The warm weather was also resulting in huge losses for the ski resorts, many of which had to transport snow from higher alpine regions. But apparently even that snow wouldn't stay because the ground was relatively warm.
This year they do expect weird weather. In fact according to the BBC, the UK Meterological Office says that this'll be the warmest year ever (in the UK? in Europe? in the World?), El Niño is to blame.
Ruben had offered to bring me Al Gore's film on Gobal Warming, but always forgets. The film apparently shook him. I should remind him again to bring it. Some really scary stuff has already started to happen. A 66 sq km chunk of ice was discovered in Dec 2006 to have broken off the Canadian Arctic in summer 2005. They fear it will float away during summer and cause havoc on oil and gas exploration, oil rigs, and shipping. Even otherwise this is scary. Apparently if the sea levels get higher as a result of melting ice, a large part Bangladesh would risk being submerged.
Europe is trying hard to do something about Global Warming. Hopefully they (particularly Angela Merkel's friendly relations with George W. Bush) and the newly muscled Democrats would be able to nudge a change in US policy.
It is almost 1:30am, and it has still not started snowing.
But we live in hope...
Update at 8:49 am:
1. It did snow last night, though probably not much... I can see some snow on the ground in the lawn in the University of Music and Performing Arts opposite my window.
2. BBC says today, Chief executives of some of the largest companies in the US have urged President George W Bush to introduce measures to tackle global warming.
Update on 5 Feb:
1. Minor editing and one major one-- I had attributed the film to John Kerry instead of Al Gore... I am of course talking about An Inconvenient Truth about Gore's campaign to get Global Warming recognized as an urgent problem.
2. It had indeed been snowing that whole week and on Friday Othmar called up at around 2pm to suggest that we go night skiing or snowboarding. I didn't have good enough arguments until he said that we'd have to start at around 4pm to get there... I got my chance... I had to be at work at least until 6pm! He sounded rather pissed off... poor chap :-)


Vidya said...

I like the way you write. Exactly as your title says, unrestrained. Do let me know the name of the movie that you have mentioned.

And for the comment on my page. Its so true. Its only with people you are comfortable, you end up opening up easily. And it really means a lot :-)

A.S. said...

"Thanks for the flowers", as the Austrians would reply to a compliment :-)
The film was stupidly misattributed in the orginal post (now corrected): An Inconvenient Truth... links in the main post.

Indeed, being able to open up to some people is a very freeing experience. Good luck!

Vidya said...

//Indeed, being able to open up to some people is a very freeing experience. Good luck!//

After reading some of your posts, I understand how pregnent those words are. :-) Thanks!

A.S. said...

Actually that was indeed meant for your post, but yes, they are relevant for everybody, including me :-)