"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Becoming a Science Blog and Planning for the Distant Future

Well, okay, more of an amateur naturalist blog.

My sister, when she bought her house from very serious gardeners, inherited their garden journal. This handwritten diary contains all sorts of interesting information, such as which plants do well in which areas of the property; what kind of birds visit the feeders in which seasons, et cetera. It also includes important seasonal information going back well over a decade: the dates of the first and last frost, when the first crocuses emerged, when the fruit trees blossomed, and such like.

The bizarre weather these last couple of years (100 degree plus summers, drought, freak snowstorms and record low temperatures one winter followed by virtually no winter at all the following year) may be nothing more than a temporary aberration, but I don't believe that. I think that our local climate is beginning to show the wild variability predicted by all the computer models of climate change.

My guess is that the local climate twenty or thirty or fifty or a hundred years from now will not closely adhere to historical norms, if indeed it is recognizable at all. It may be that the climate becomes so variable as to defy reliable prediction - which would be a terrible tragedy - but I think it more likely that it will gradually become some sort of other, relatively predictable climate that we are not used to. Maybe we will become a mediterranean-type climate. Maybe Seattle will be more like San Francisco, and Vancouver, B.C. more like Seattle.

Or Seattle more like L.A. and Vancouver more like San Francisco.

In either case, a farmer trying to eke out a subsistence living on this here piece of land would probably be really, really happy to have a log dating back to to 2010 detailing first and last frost dates, blossom times, first fruits, and rainfall patterns. Even without looking so far ahead, it's entirely likely that I myself could benefit from such a garden log.

So for the benefit of future farmers - I am adding the new tag "seasons" (and I will go back and place this tag on old posts) on all posts that contain information about the timing of the seasons (there is a word for this but I can't think of it. Anybody?). I would welcome information from local bloggers - meaning, say, anyone from Mount Vernon, WA to Vancouver B.C.


Dr24Hours said...


I think that that is an admirable goal (and would be even if there were no anticipated climate change; just as it will be valuable even if none were to come to pass.). But rather than just making a tag on your posts, I think it would be wise at the very least, to print out your posts relating to the subject, and laminate them one a year or something.

If you are right, and in 50 years there are subsistance farmers in Northern Washington, they are not likely to have access to historical blogs. But elements-protected paper, that would be a trophy that might as well be made of gold.

Dr24Hours said...

Of course, something entabulated according with pictures of the types of plants that emerge from the ground along with compass points of the location of the rising sun when they do so might be better: it would be meaningful even if english were not, and it would be systematic in a way that would not require a great deal of detective work.

Aimee said...

Yes, OR I could build a full scale model replica of Chichen Itza, and all relevant celestial information would be encapsulated in it's massive stone walls.

Aimee said...

oh p.s., there are subsistence farmers in northern washington today. Maybe not totally 100%, but as close as anybody else.

Dr24Hours said...

I'm serious, I think with your art skills and a compass, you could produce something durable, valuable, and eminantly publishable in the vanishingly unlikely event that society doesn't fall apart.

And of course there are a few subsistance farmers, just about anywhere you go on earth, no matter how wealthy. I meant if it were to become a predominant way of life.