Defective weather detective
Like many of you, I am deeply disappointed with the weather we have had this spring. These are not the sort of meteorological conditions we were promised! I am this close to asking for my money back.
The biggest problem with the weather is that no one is willing to take responsibility for it. In an effort to address this appalling absence of accountability, I decided to investigate the sorry situation by visiting with Gaucho Tauntaun, an official with the National Weather Service.
We met at a local coffee shop. After dunking our donuts in our respective coffee mugs, I went straight to the heart of the matter.
So, what’s the deal? I asked.
I think everyone is aware of the many problems we have experienced with Spring 2013, he replied. The season has fallen far short of early expectations. There have been major issues regarding both the quantity and the quality of spring-like conditions. As such, the NWS has decided to simply cancel the entire vernal season.
That’s not what I mean, I said. Isn’t it true that ‘gaucho’ was used to describe a somewhat silly pant style that was popular back in the 1970s?
I can’t comment on that. But getting back to the weather…
And isn’t it true that ‘gaucho’ is also the name for a type of a cowboy? And that a tauntaun is a giant snow lizard? Are you trying to hide the fact that you like to wear silly pants and ride around on an enormous furry snow lizard?
He glared at me in silence for a moment. Can we please get back to the weather? he asked.
OK. Tell me: what can we do about the weather? That is, other than complain about it? And who is to blame for this defective spring season?
The National Weather Service is in no way responsible. We simply report the weather. We have nothing to do with either its planning or its execution.
Then where should we go with our gripes?
We suggest that you address all complaints regarding the deficiencies of Spring 2013 to its manufacturer.
How about man-made global warming? Does that have anything to do with this wacky weather?
Yes, but probably not in the way you think.
It’s a bit complicated, but it boils down to the fact that all dads are men.
Seeing the look of confusion on my face, he explained further.
Did your dad ever show you the ‘pull my finger’ trick?
Of course he did. It’s the sworn duty of every dad to demonstrate that trick to his kids. What’s that got to do with anything?
Think of how many dads there are in the world! And each of them with as many as ten fingers! Do the math and it all adds up to a vast amount of greenhouse, um, vapors.
This was an uncomfortable subject for me. My discomfort was multiplied by a rumbling reminder that I’d had chili the night before and no one was available to tug any fingers. That is, except for the NWS guy and he didn’t strike me as a viable volunteer. I decided to switch gears.
Back to this unseasonably wintry weather we’ve had lately and your decision to cancel Spring 2013. Was this determination influenced in any way by outside groups?
He looked at me warily. What are you implying?
I have here a press release from the Kids For Snow Days Coalition. They give high praise to the NWS and tout the large number of snow days schools have been forced to use recently. Has the Weather Service been influenced by the lobbying arm of this special interest?
How about the Snowman Builders Association? And the National Snowball Manufacturers Federation? Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the Snow Fort Construction Guild, the most powerful lobbying group to ever assemble a temporary wintertime fortification!
The National Weather Service is not influenced by these or any other special interests, he replied tersely. Our predictions are based solely on the data that are fed into our computer models.
We polished off our coffee in stilted silence. As Tauntan got up to leave, I said, Can you toss me a bone before you go? My wife wants to know when we can expect some warmer weather.
He picked up his empty coffee mug and gazed into its depths. Summer will arrive soon, he said. It won’t be long before you’ll be complaining about the heat and humidity.
Yup. At least that’s what is says here in our latest computer model.
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