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17 corrections, most recently by yelnod - Show corrections

CHANGE IN CLIMATE. GREEN CHRISTMASES By C. Le Lacy Evans, in the "Daily Mail.") For many years back we have wit- nessed a noticeable climatic change in   our winters in England, Scotland, and Northern Europe generally, together with reports of a similar character   from America. As an instance of the former, during the present December a rare variety of   spring sights and sounds are reported.   With the thermometer often up to 50 deg., "partridges had practically com-   menced to pair" and "the rooks were busy repairing their old nests." Fresh     and succulent grass has grown as in spring, and cattle have been turned out.   "to enjoy both the weather and the food." A second group of flies are seen here and there, and often a cloud of gnats may be witnessed doing their ver-   tical war-dance, while in more than one instance the bees—water scouts— have been busy. To the gardener these observations are unnecessary—he sees the facts daily. In New York during the present month the temperature rose to 60deg., which is a record, 59deg. being regis- tered in 1873. The underground rail- ways registered 70deg. This heat wave   was general throughout the eastern States. "In Boston trees are budding in the parks, and on the Berkshire   Hills, with the mercury showing 70deg., the maple sap is running as it does in spring-time." This last phenomenon however, may not be continuous, but these quotations are sufficient to show the climatic state of England and America during the present December.   BIRDS MOVING NORTHWARDS. Zoologically the same change is ob- served, and it is not long ago since I read a letter from a nephew of Mr George R. Sims giving a list of birds which formerly inhabited the United States only, but have recently migrated northward and are now commonly   found in Lower Canada. This shows that the northern climate is becoming   warmer, and the statement is con- firmed by the fact that the records of the Hudson Bay Company state that "the winter on the shores of the Bay has grown shorter, at the rate of one   day in every ten years." The same change is noticeable in Siberia, Green- land, and Alaska. The northern ice cap is decreasing in area and thickness, and the land, which was tropical and bore the grape-vine the magnolia, and the water-lily before the Great Ice Age, will become habit- able again. As an instance in confir- mation of this, in 1907 Dr W. S. Bruce's expedition explored the whole of Prince Charles Foreland, an island 60 miles long lying to the west of Spitz- bergen, and where only ice and snow   had previously existed, "brilliant ver- dent vegetatilon was found in several places." WINTERS OF THE PAST It is interesting to glance back even to the recent written period of man,   without alluding to a former period   during which we can trace the advance and retreat of the pine and the rein-   deer with the precision of a mathemati- cian. Snow was well known to the Egyptians, and in Palestine one of   David's officers "slew a lion in a pit at the time of snow." At the time of the Roman occupation Gaul was semi- Arctic. In A. D. 462 Theodomer march-   ed his army over the frozen Danube: in A.D. 763 the Dardanelles was frozen over wiith 50ft of snow. The River Po was frozen to the bottom in A.D. 1236. In A.D. 1292 the Cattegat was frozen, and travellers crossed between Norway and Jutland. In A.D. 1344 wine distri- buted to soldiers in Flanders was cut in pieces by hatchets. In A.D. 1571 all the rivers in France were frozen, and the Hellespont in A.D. 1622. In A. D. 1658 Charles X. of Sweden crossed the Little Belt from Holstein to Denmark with his whole army, foot, horse, baggage, and artillery. In A.D. 1684 brakes drove along the Thames. In A.D. 1709 the Adriatic and Mediterranean near Genoa were quite frozent over. In A.D. 1716 all the lakes in England were fro- zen to an ernormous thickness, and a whole ox was roasted on the Thames. This has occurred since, accompanied by a fair, but is not likely to recur. About every nine to eleven years we still experience extreme cold, when sun- spots decrease the sun's power. RETURN OF THE SUN'S INFLU- ENCE. It was after the Great Ice Age that the Zendavesta tells us that "man came south to meet the sun" and to cross to Mexico. Their chief god, Viltzllputsli, according to legend, "con- ducted them in their march from the cold northern regions to their southern situation." You hear again the tale that the Norse god Thor prevented the mar- riage of the Sun Goddess—Friea—with the King of Frost by slaying the lat- ter with his hammer. It is whis- pered in the pine woods by Minnehaha in Hiawatha—the southern alternate warmth to be re-echoed from the bath of Hinnemoa of the Maoris in New Zealand. The reverse of this is now going on. The old snowed-up coaching days of our forefathcrs and even the skating expeditions of our boyhood are vanish- ing. The sun's influence is returning northward. Instead of frost we have a warmer, damp, and green Christmas, which an old saying—we hope errone- ously—tells us "fills our churchyards." In less time than is generally im- agined, land now frozen and desolate at the north will become habitable to man. The North-West Passage will be opened up, Greenland will again be- come "greenland," and even Satan may carry out his threat, "I will again sit on the sides of the North!"

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