Last year, the "hot" issue among global warming alarmists was that earlier, warmer springs were going to kill the maple syrup industry.
"You might be tempted to say, well that’s a bunch of baloney — global warming," said Mr. Morse, drilling his first tap holes this season in mid-February, as snow hugged the maples and Vermont braced for a record snowfall. "But the way I feel, we get too much warm. How many winters are we going to go with Decembers turning into short-sleeve weather, before the maple trees say, ‘I don’t like it here any more?’ "
There is no way to know for certain, but scientists are increasingly persuaded that human-caused global warming is changing climate conditions that affect sugaring….
"It appears to be a rather dire situation for the maple industry in the Northeast if conditions continue to go toward the predictions that have been made for global warming," said Tim Perkins, director of the Proctor Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont.
Dr. Perkins studied the records of maple syrup production over the last 40 years and found a fairly steady progression of the maple sugaring season moving earlier and earlier, and also getting shorter.
OK, I see, so warm winters hurt the maple sugar industry. So this must have been a great season, right, since it was a really cold winter? Wrong!
The weather this week will be key, but producers say the heavy snows this winter also are limiting production.
Moore said that at least 75 percent of his 5,000 trees are unreachable this week, still buried in snow. "I have trees that still have 3 feet of snow around them," he said. "It’s not looking good right now."Eric Ellis of Maine Maple Products of Madison, a company run by the Lariviere brothers that taps 50,000 trees in northern Somerset County, said the season in the north country hasn’t even begun. "It’s a week to 10 days late." Ellis, like Moore, is concerned that it may get too warm too quickly.
"We only made syrup one afternoon last week," he said. "The Skowhegan area is certainly below average." Somerset County has the distinction of being the highest-producing county in the country.
OK, so colder, longer winters are bad for maple syrup too. I don’t remember anyone pointing this out last year when they were blaming global warming.