Global Warming Whining

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.

  • mick

    lol, good work

  • Doug

    LOL. The 2007 article had the guy fretting about shirtsleeve weather in December. It must have been a very cold previous 4 months for him this year as he ran around in his shortsleeves.

  • Larry Sheldon

    Some people whine and complain if you hit them with a brand-new hammer.

    I personally don’t remember weather like this since the last time.

  • coveman

    It’s interesting how the potential destruction of world agriculture (and therefore our food supply) has been one of the main scare tactics employed in both the “global cooling” hoax of the 1970s and the “global warming” hoax of today.

    And yet, the food riots we are seeing around the world today (Haiti, Yemen, Egypt, Mexico) are the result of the pursuit of–BIOFUELS!

    Who will save us from the saviours?

  • Scientist

    What a laughable idea, that if warmer winters are bad then colder winters must be good. Is it so hard to understand that conditions significantly different from normal, in either direction, can be bad for agriculture?

  • Mike G (Michigan)

    What is normal and who decides?

  • JP

    This is one of the many ancedotal stories that seem to crop up every week or so -of course, they don’t have any real data showing a drop off in Maple Syrup production, but it does make for good reading. BTW, I buy real maple syrup 3 or 4 times a year, and I haven’t seen any appreciable price increase in recent years. If there was a real danger in the future production of maple syrup, this price would most certainly sky rocket.

  • I grew up in maple syrup country in Ontario, Canada in the mid to late 1960’s. I can’t remember a year that was good for syrup production. Crop producers of all descriptions fear the worst every year: too hot, too cold; to wet, too dry; not enough snow cover, too much snow cover. Its a natural response to the chaotic nature of weather/climate when your job is to consistently produce bumper crops.

    In response to what is normal, normal doesn’t exist except within a broad range of values over time and based on where you set your benchmark. So, do you define normal based on the past 30 years or over a more reasonable time scale that reflects a longer data set, like 500,000,000 years? Scientist will want you to consider only the last 30 or so years (less than an eye blink in geological time) or if pushed, the last 1,000 years so we can trot out the hockey stick. All other definitions of normal would disallow the catastrophe.

  • Your statement, “OK, I see, so warm winters hurt the maple sugar industry”, is incorrect in that it grossly oversimplifies the story. It is not the temperature alone that is important. Instead it is the number of freeze-thaw cycles that dictates the sap pressure, and thus flow of sap from maple trees. The number of cycles is affected by season duration.

    Also, it turns out that this season (2008) was quite cold, and was rather good for producers throughout most of the U.S. In Canada the situation was different. It was very cold (too cold for sap to run), and then got too warm, without adequate refreezing at night to recharge the system. So production was lower in Quebec.

    Finally, one commenter mentioned a lack of data regarding production. That is incorrect….there is plenty of data on maple production. Unfortunately, production alone doesn’t tell much of a story because it is affected by numerous variables (economics, population demographics, equipment costs, syrup in storage, etc.) rather than climate alone. There is good data showing that the maple production season is starting and ending earlier in the year than historically, and that the duration is decreasing throughout the U.S. syrup producing areas.