“Climate Change’ Has Ruined Groundhog Day Or Something

It’s always something with these people. It’s like an addiction which causes them to link everything to their little cult

How Climate Change Has Ruined Groundhog Day

Every Feb. 2, a man in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, dons a top hat, bow tie, and gloves, and hoists a groundhog up over an adoring crowd. The groundhog, the famous Punxsutawney Phil, then observes his shadow and—the story goes—has a short chat in “Groundhogese” with another top-hatted man, who translates a prognostication for the audience: If Phil saw his shadow, winter will persist for six weeks (as it did last year); if he did not, spring will come early. The affair is rather silly, and it’s meant to be.

Using animal behavior as a bellwether of seasonal change is nonetheless sensible. Long before calendars dictated the first day of spring, humans used observations of the natural world as a reliable seasonal clock. A robin’s song or a budding flower is a great indicator of whether spring has sprung, and paying attention to these cues is vital for hunters, gatherers, and farmers. The timing of hibernating animals, including groundhogs, emerging from winter slumber is one important indicator that the weather has turned, and there’s reason to believe that today’s Groundhog Day traditions have roots in this idea.

Of course it’s absurd to believe that a captive groundhog like Phil would know much about forecasting weather, let alone communicating those predictions to humans. (There are wild groundhogs that hibernate at this time, but the Groundhog Day phenomenon involves a captive animal.) But even Phil’s wild brothers should be forgiven if they’re predictions of late have been off: Climate change is throwing Mother Nature’s biological timepiece out of whack, bringing earlier springs on average.

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One Response to ““Climate Change’ Has Ruined Groundhog Day Or Something”

  1. drowningpuppies says:

    Great movie!

    Bill Murray deserved an Oscar!

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