Sunday, March 10, 2024

The warmest winter

nordic skis laid across a muddy trail with minimal snow

After more than a year of living in the Adirondacks, I’ve learned that winter is highly anticipated and celebrated by most. Months of powdery and icy conditions in the region have historically attracted outdoors enthusiasts to experience the park’s extensive cold season. But this winter’s record-breaking warm temperatures and minimal snowfall transformed the season, shortening outdoor recreation times and disrupting some events.

Winter temperatures in the Saranac Lake area were the warmest on record this year. According to data from the National Weather Service, the average temperature from December to February was 24.1 degrees. The previous record was 23.5 degrees in the 2015-16 winter season. Read the story here. 

Wild about wildways

Rewilding advocate John Davis has trekked thousands of miles to promote wildlife corridors on the East and West coasts, but there is one landscape that he says needs more attention, and it’s literally in his backyard.

Read the story here.

Also: Check out our new issue of The Explorer (out now) to read about wildlife corridors, connectivity and climate resilience.

Businesses urge climate action

Around 40 businesses and associations signed a letter to New York legislators calling for the passage of several climate bills. The letter came from the organization NY Businesses for Climate Justice.

“Almost five years after passing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), New York State still has not created or funded the programs necessary to achieve the CLCPA commitments.”

Read it here.

Talking climate

An auditorium full of students, teachers and environmentalists tackled climate communication today. How to convey science, feelings and solutions to young people were among the topics discussed. I wrote about the event last week and followed up today.

One panelist, a Paul Smith’s College student named Ariah Mitchell summed up her feelings with “Fear paralyzes, hope engages.”

Read that story here in case you missed it.

Here are some stories I’m following:

AP: SEC approves rule requiring some companies to report greenhouse gas emissions. Legal challenges loom

The SEC “approved a rule that will require some public companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, after last-minute revisions that weakened the directive in the face of strong pushback from companies.”

Civil Eats: New Research Shows How the Meat Industry Infiltrated Universities to Obstruct Climate Policy

“They’re conducting industry-funded public relations and communications campaigns on climate change issues that benefit their agribusiness donors,” said the executive director of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School.

Grist: Is the USDA’s spending on ‘climate-smart’ farming actually helping the climate?

“Working Group says that more than a dozen of the farming practices that the USDA recently designated as “climate-smart”— including several of the highest-funded ones — don’t actually have proven climate benefits.”

Yale Climate Connections: All the climate data is wild

“A recent Nature Climate Change article notes that more than 1,000 animal species have worn sensors to gather data in places where measurement has always been difficult.”

panelists sit at a table

Panelists at the Communicating Climate Change with Young People workshop at St. Lawrence University.

Adirondack Explorer file photo at top.

This first appeared in Chloe’s weekly “Climate Matters” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Chloe Bennett is a climate change reporter based in Lake Placid, NY. Originally from North Texas, Chloe has always been drawn to the natural world. In 2022, she graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY where she focused on environmental reporting and audio production. She grew a deep appreciation for the Adirondack Park while interning for the Explorer in the summer of 2022.

18 Responses

  1. James M Schaefer says:

    This year we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the First Snow Train in New York State that brought 378 skiers to North Creek from Schenectady — March 4th, 1934. The train trip was delayed until March because of a lack of snow. The same reason prevailed the year before when the 1932-33 Snow Train to Vermont had to be cancelled because of a lack of natural snow. What’s more the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid suffered from a lack of natural snow—so much so that the organizers needed to import trainloads of the white stuff from Old Forge and Turin, NY to provide adequate coverage for the cross-country races and the outrun of the ski Jump.
    So the snow drought, rain, warn overcast days of 2023-2024 were similar to those challenging times 90 years ago when Mother Nature was stingy with frozen precipitation.
    The main lesson is that weather patterns vary from time to time and we adapt to them. Fortunately for skiing the snow making equipment has helped but even so the ambient temperature needed to make snow is below 30 degrees F.
    Some alarmists say this record warm year serves as “proof” that climate is changing. Unfortunately New York’s government officials have bought into the hype with draconian limits on carbon emissions. What follows is pressure to build solar and wind energy, yet these sources can only partially fulfill the need. And valuable farm and forest lands will be sacrificed in the name of clean energy. Of course nuclear power is a sensible addition to our energy problem, but no mention of nuclear will be found in these discussions. But should be. Let’s hope that articles like this help to put all energy generating sources on the table. And don’t shed climate tears without looking into historic weather trends. Only 90 years ago…..

    • Balian the Cat says:

      The combined land and ocean temperature on this planet has risen at an average rate of 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 1850. The rate since 1982 is three times that. All of this without the volcanoes and asteroids that precipitated other similar occurrences on earth. While alarming, there isn’t anything alarmist about that. The “proof” is obvious to everyone with their head above the sand.

    • Boreas says:


      I agree with your feelings on nuclear power. Small, modular nuke plants are likely the interim power we need until a miracle happens.

      I disagree with your apparent normalization of climate change and weather trends. There is no such thing as “climate” in the Adirondacks, but there are weather phenomena related to continental and global climate change. “Climate” is a term that relates more to continental and global patterns that include things like ice cover and deep ocean currents. What we tend to “see” locally are longer-term weather patterns like La Niña and El Niño that bounce back and forth, but don’t have a great impact on forests or wildlife over the long run. But they can create considerable havoc in any given decade.

      But climate scientists must look at ALL global factors such as solar energy, atmospheric temperature and chemical composition, albedo, ice loss, ocean saline gradients, ocean pH, deep ocean currents, etc.. They aren’t particularly interested in the Adirondacks or NYS because they don’t solely drive climate change – only contribute to it.

  2. Joe Kozlina says:

    It only takes one look at the temperature charts for 100 years to see we are not following the normal seasonal climate changes. Anyone over the age of 60 can attest to the years are hotter and the snow is less and the rain is more, not just for one year here and there, but for decades. We all see this.
    No reason to discuss this any more. We have passed the tipping points of no return. I realize the only way to show “proof” of this is to live thru it. Or Die thru it!
    I know, its depressing. I have no answers and I am not hopeful or optimistic that anyone has the answers.

    • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

      haha yeah ok, were all going to die…….wtf The thing that your not thinking about is that the change you see in 100 years is very short term climate. All this data they use ends in the late 1800’s. Not near enough for the worlds climate long term. Any scientist worth a shit would tell you that. If they don’t, you cant trust anything they say. That’s not how science works. That’s how average Joe’s do it. They open the window and go oh my……
      I’ve lived here for 25 years and its never done that. lol Yes humans are terrible and I would worry about that, not the weather.

    • Boreas says:

      I think you are right Joe. For anyone that is interested, this is a newer book that is fairly easy to follow. A good overview of how we can use the past to perhaps see ourselves in terms of Global “tipping points” of the past and their consequences.

      “Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis” by Michael E. Mann

      • I believe we will die from nuclear war before Climate death, FIFY!

        • Boreas says:

          If you consider severe weather/wildfire/drought/famine events triggered by climate change, “climate deaths” are already happening. At what point do we accept that severe weather is climate-induced?

          • Balian the Cat says:

            Rational people who are able to set political tribalism aside have already accepted it, Boreas. I think it important to consider who makes up the “we” in we. Some of “us” are already dying from Climate death but most of those “we’s” are non-whites in poor countries where the luxury to debate this issue has long passed. Those of us safe in northern areas will, of course, begin to be inconvenienced by millions of annoying climate refugees but I’m sure Congress will act appropriatly and encamp or deport all the illegals from Tennese once they get to Platsburgh. Also, while Arthur is fixing it for us, I might mention that in the unfortunate event that we live to experience a nuclear war, the majority of us will die in the nuclear winter portion of that – a horrendous climatic cycle that results from smoke induced heavy cloud cover lasting many years. A fitingly climatic end.

            • Boreas says:


              Well said and excellent points!

              While nations, politicians, and corporations globally trot out feelgood fixes like solar, wind, EVs, etc., this is being done while sea levels continue to rise, ocean currents continue to change, ice continues to melt, and precipitation, wind, and fire patterns are becoming more severe. What we DON’T seem to be doing is protecting and preparing global populations from what has been happening for nearly a generation. I hate to sound pessimistic, but I am.

            • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

              I would retort that people are far more likely to survive today than even 50 years ago if you check accurate stats. Survival wasn’t easy in the North Country for whites 100 years ago. And even harder for people’s of other continents and oil is the big reason its far better. And no I’m not a bot or employee or in any way connected to them. That’s why there are so many more people now, they don’t die as often. If there are 5 million living on a delta where 200 years ago it was 5000, and you have an earthquake, more will die than in the past because there are so many more living. That is our problem now, too many people. And science doesn’t work on a consensus, it works on more and more accurate data over time. Comparing our temperature now to the late 1800’s is a joke. In 10,000 years then you will have temperature data. When everyone agrees science stops.

          • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

            They are part of the climate. Severe and “normal” weather are all “climate induced”, Always have been. The continental glaciers started melting 25,000 years ago. Greenland is still ice. The North pole is ocean, not land. Canada is not under 2 miles of ice anymore. The west has a long history of 500 year droughts, where did the Indians disappear to before the white man came? They moved. Where are we in the ice age that is still going on (Greenland)??? It (climate) started changing the moment it appeared. We are still in an ice age. Its coming back with or without us. We may push that back a little in time but that is all we will do. Its coming.

  3. Bill Keller says:

    Our species is at 7.8 billion and rising. As soon as we out strip the habitats ability to support our species nature will right it’s self. Many scientists think Earth has a maximum carrying capacity of 9 billion to 10 billion people. We’re on our way. With any luck at all the wealthy elite will colonize Mars.

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