Early Birds and Bears and Whales And . . .

Oct 13, 2016


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Early to bed and early to rise,

Makes a bear … HUNGRY!”

Look out! That clanking sound you hear may be a ravenous black bear scurrying through your trashcans for dinner. This year, the winter and spring temperatures have been so warm that hibernating black, brown and grizzly bears have awakened early. Their interrupted sleep has left many grumpy and very hungry.

However, the bears are not the only early arrivals. Thanks to the hot flow of this spring’s Gulf Stream, we have seen plants, fish, birds and beasts arriving early.

Bears are waking up early and hungry. SOURCE: Yellowstone Park News

The Gulf Stream is only one of the many currents that are part of the vast Atlantic Thermohalene Current. This current carries waters from the South Atlantic to the North Atlantic. Here in the North Atlantic, it has been flowing very fast and flooding our shores with hot tropical water. Offshore waters are 0.9˚ – 5.4˚F above normal. The hot marine air is welling up from the Gulf of Mexico and inland from the Atlantic. It created a warm winter and an early spring.

The Gulf Stream is flowing very fast, carrying hot, tropical water that is heating the Eastern US. SOURCE: NOAA

We have seen the impact of this fast-flowing water on marine life. Whale watchers are reporting early migrations of blue, grey, humpback and even the rare right whales. On a smaller scale, mackerel and herring swam into New England waters two weeks ahead of schedule. Other fish are also arriving north. Awash in abundant food, harbor seals are having their pups as much as two months early.

Marine breezes are carrying the warm temperatures inland. If you live east of the Rocky Mountains, your gardens have been blossoming early. Similarly, farms and orchards have seen their plants sprouting and blossoming as much as six weeks ahead of schedule. Expect your June strawberries to arrive in May!

The skies are filled with migrating birds. From western Elf Owls to Turkey Vultures, Mallard Ducks and Yellow-throated Warblers, spring migrations are early and heavy. The gentle winter and warm spring (as well as an overabundance of insects) are creating ideal conditions for birds and bird watchers.

Harbor seals are having their pups two months early. SOURCE: USFWS

So much news is negative. Even early blooming plants have mostly been reported as horrendous pollen counts for allergy sufferers. So here is the good news from Mother Nature—across much of North America, warm early spring is turning into a lush spring, filled with life—from strawberries to seal pups.

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to "Weather Whispers" by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these blog posts. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.

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I hope the animals take

I hope the animals take advantage of the booming times! Because we know summer wont last forever. As soon as the weather cools right back down in the fall! Very warm winters come and go. I remember 2000! our first warmest winter on record. That was the real year with no winter in NC. Winter is coming again before we know it. Time flies!! Can you believe its May already?? and summer is so close. 2012 a is fast year!

Guess what else was out

Guess what else was out early? ticks! I dont like ticks. This is a really bad tick year, I sometimes find ticks crawling up my legs alot of times! be careful when your outside because them creepy blood suckers are EVERYWHERE. Thats why not having a winter is nothing but a mess. i dont enjoy having a spring in the winter because you see how that one turned out. Bad allergies and bugs etc... lets hope that el nino will change things around next winter

OUCH! I hate ticks and they

OUCH! I hate ticks and they can bring dangerous disease. Next warm winter, invest in insect spray!

Actually, El Ninos normally bring warm winters. Sorry!

I guess those animals will be

I guess those animals will be hibernating in the summer too! Weve been fairly below normal for quite a while in Penn. Im not looking for a summer this year due to the fact we didnt have a winter either! please please Evelyn can you make it warmer than normal for us? I wish you were in control of the weather rather than mother nature! She dont know winter from summer anymore. Do you know how this summer will play out? If so can you give me a preview? Thanks!

Pennsylvania and Texas have

Pennsylvania and Texas have gone through more than a year of weird, weather-breaking weather. I'm still working on the summer outlook, but a number of experts think it will be warm.

Good luck!

What will the el nino do to

What will the el nino do to the NAO? I know we are shifting towards an el nino now and what will that do for the weather patterns most likely on the east coast for this summer and winter of 2012-13?

No one knows of any

No one knows of any connections between the NAO and the El Nino. If El Nino develops, it normally brings cooler, wetter summers and warm winters.

The little baby seal is so

The little baby seal is so cute! I dont wanna be attacked by a bear though. We have plenty of bears around my house but they are cute as long as they dont try to kill me! Whats caused this incredibly warm year? and will that same trend continue for the next few months.. including summer or will it turn quite chilly causing the poor animals to think its winter in summer?

Like you, I have bears around

Like you, I have bears around my house. I also have a coyote that likes to lie under my apple tree and rest from nursing her litter.

The hot spring and winter have been from the fast flowing Gulf Stream and a pattern called a positive North Atlantic Oscillation. This winter it blocked Arctic air from dropping over most of North America.

Im not messing with a coyotes

Im not messing with a coyotes little babies! In my woods in the backyard theres baby cubs that like to hang around here. No one tries to freat them because i know they wont do no harm to us. i dont know where they hibernate in the winter months though. bears are my favorite animals, they are so pretty. Bears have earned a bad reputation for being mean but its only self defense. Dont mess with them and they wont attack you lol! it takes alot to stay warm in the winter in my own house much less in the woods.

Hi Evelyn,sorry this is not

Hi Evelyn,sorry this is not about bears but about chickens.I was reading your blog on the steps you need to keep them,and then I couldn't find it any more. Can you help me?

Hi, DonnAe, This is your

Hi, DonnAe, This is your Almanac editor. You can find the Raising Chickens Blog here: http://www.almanac.com/home-pe... Hope this helps!


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!


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