Fighter pilot, Royal Navy 1945, Hydrographer Iraq 1947-52 India 1952-53, Canadian Hydrographic Arctic explorer 1953-1960, Writer-producer Canadian National Film Board 1961-72, Freelance journalist, audio-visual producer 1972-2009, National Press Club of Canada 1961 - 2006

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have a nice several months

Let’s not clutter up reality

In essence, for all the living organisms, sentient or otherwise, which by either boundless blessing, dictatorial decree or unknown chance, arbitrarily dwell upon our planet Earth, there are only two fundamentally distinct seasons experienced during the annual revolution around our nurturing parent star, the Sun

Those two seasons are: Summer and Winter. Caused by the fact that the earth’s rotational axis tilt, up to a maximum of nearly 24 degrees, leans either into or out of the sun’s warming rays, each for exactly half of our yearly journey around our star. This apportions either greater or lesser solar heat to either the northern or southern hemispheres in semi-annual turn.

Though the two astronomically precise switch-over points between these two leanings occur with split second timing, little else is discernible at the moments of change. Not for minutes, hours, days or sometimes even weeks on either side of these vital occurrences can any definite climatic variation, welcome or undesired, be discernible.

To smooth over these vague and random meteorological periods of uncertainty humans had to invent two other imprecise artificial but useful additional seasons: Spring and Autumn (Fall). Ungoverned by any planetary mathematical positioning they assuage the annoying and usually confused rubbing edges of the more distinctive and reliable Summer-Winter-seasons as they pass from one to the other, and provide pleasingly cultural inspiration to poetry, song, and romantic folklore.

Despite having some fuzzy astronomical definitions, the two handy and nebulous seasons of spring and autumn have sporadic and intermittent ever-changing fluffy edges which may stretch anywhere from mid-March to early June for Spring, and mid-September to mid-November for autumn. Possibly of some interest here, is that my own birthday falls on March 21st, which is regarded by most as the first day of spring. I hasten to add that this little informational snippet is inserted purely as an inconsequential aside and has no ulterior shadow of any other motive. (No, no, no! Really, you shouldn’t have. I just can’t’s quite uncalled for...and unprofessional...but, ok, if you insist...well just this once. So kind).

Anyway, as I was saying, the spring and fall seasons, ungoverned and untidy as they are, still remain essential in helping the good order of our unpredictable annual climatic events.

But there is one thick-headed, cackling band of brothers and sisters whose interpretations in this matter are illogical nonsense. They are the ever-bemused TV-radio-newspaper announcers, writers and editors who, unfailingly, four times every year, disclose to their audiences the same old trite and inaccurate news items they have used for decades and decades past.

“Oh,” they marvel, “look at this. We have frigidly cold weather with three feet of snow yet the official first day of winter is still 26 days away.”

Or they bleat triumphantly, “There is still sixteen days before summer starts officially and yet we have had a heat wave for three days. Quick!. Call Al Gore on the emergency line.”

Admittedly there is a marked temperature time lag which affects the change over from one to the other of the two seasons, much as a kettle of water experiences. But never, when they blithely pronounce the arrival of the ‘official’ start of summer do they remark that from then on the hours of daylight will be decreasing. Nor on the ‘official’ first day of winter do they note that from then on the hours of daylight will be increasing.

Well, these woolly-headed ignorant journalists might be excused their annoying utterances, but the final straw for me was to hear the same meaningless tripe coming from a usually knowledgeable senior meteorologist who hosts the national weather channel on TV.

Let’s leave such blooping utterances to Al Gore and his like.

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