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(Huffington Post)   Old Farmer's Almanac predicts a "super cold winter." Which is really scary news for the six old farmers who still actually read it   (huffingtonpost.com ) divider line
    More: Unlikely, eastern United States, almanacs, Rob Thomas, growing seasons, crop yields  
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2014-08-24 11:25:33 AM  
Does anyone else remember counting the bands on wooly caterpillars as a child to "predict" how bad winter would be?
 
2014-08-24 11:53:35 AM  
Well, the trees are turning early, the geese are flying already, and the ponies are extra shaggy. So yeah, I'm thinking I should fix the woodstove and lay in an extra face cord.

/hick'ry nut people problems
 
2014-08-24 11:59:25 AM  

ginandbacon: Does anyone else remember counting the bands on wooly caterpillars as a child to "predict" how bad winter would be?


It was the ratio dark/light I thought. Don't remember which way was which tho.
 
2014-08-24 12:05:29 PM  

ginandbacon: Does anyone else remember counting the bands on wooly caterpillars as a child to "predict" how bad winter would be?


Does anyone remember this from a couple of days ago? The FA prediction, that is.

We used to see woolly bears when I was a kid. But we had vacant lots, yards were more unkempt. Then the building started, property values went up, so people started grooming their yards, and the vacant lots disappeared. Also the city got tougher about "vegitation" violations.
 
2014-08-24 12:06:58 PM  
A cold winter?
Must be....GLOBAL WARMING!
 
2014-08-24 12:10:15 PM  
It cannot possibly be colder than the multi-month polar vortex we endured.

It just cannot.


/tell me it cannot, please?
 
2014-08-24 12:11:36 PM  
I used to love reading the old farmers almanac. Until I started to notice that the weather forecasts were never correct and the anecdotes section started being copied from year-to-year.
 
2014-08-24 12:12:52 PM  
I know a lot of old farmers. They voted for Romney and are against gay marriage. Not sure they know which way the wind is blowing.
 
2014-08-24 12:12:53 PM  
Are the Natives stocking up on firewood then?
 
2014-08-24 12:24:41 PM  

NorthernMT: Are the Natives stocking up on firewood then?


Like crazy!
 
2014-08-24 12:28:10 PM  
It might be a cold winter, sure, but the Farmer's Almanac won't have "predicted" it in any meaningful sense of the word. They "predicted" a sweltering, nasty summer where I live for this year and it has been extraordinarily mild instead. This is typical for them.


Their "predictions" are no better than random chance, but - as they say - even a broken clock is right twice a day. Just by guessing you can get it right once in a while, and then let confirmation bias convince your readers you know what you're doing.
 
2014-08-24 12:29:24 PM  
I'm still waiting for summer to start.
 
2014-08-24 12:31:06 PM  

whither_apophis: ginandbacon: Does anyone else remember counting the bands on wooly caterpillars as a child to "predict" how bad winter would be?

It was the ratio dark/light I thought. Don't remember which way was which tho.


I found this from NOAA. It's a fun read and brought back a very visceral memory of how they curl up and go rigid when handled. I had no idea about their hibernation and careful freezing though:

"As far as the story about the woolly caterpillar's coat, this is how Mother Nature helps it survive winter.  The fur is called setae and it isn't there to protect them from the cold weather.  Instead it actually helps them to freeze more controllably.  Here is something truly remarkable.  Once settled in, the caterpillars hibernate, creating a natural organic antifreeze called glycerol.  They freeze bit by bit, until everything but the interior of their cells are frozen.  These interior cells are protected by the hemolymph.  Woollybears can - and do - survive to temperatures as low as -90oF.  This ability to adapt to cold shows up particularly in the Arctic, where the woolly worms live in a strange state of slow motion.  Most caterpillars live for two to four weeks before becoming moths.  The Arctic woolly worms, however, spend at least 14 years in the process!  The woolly bear caterpillar has even been known to survive an entire winter completely frozen in an ice cube."

AMonkey'sUncle: Does anyone remember this from a couple of days ago? The FA prediction, that is.


Is this a repeat? I missed it the first time around.
 
2014-08-24 12:33:42 PM  

I am Groot: I'm still waiting for summer to start.


We went from winter to fall.... no real summer. But we did have mosquito and black fly season, so that was nice.
 
2014-08-24 12:34:48 PM  
Old Farmer's Almanac? Shouldn't you be using the current issue?
 
2014-08-24 12:39:32 PM  

DogBoyTheCat: A cold winter?
Must be....GLOBAL WARMING!


i41.photobucket.com
 
2014-08-24 12:41:32 PM  

namegoeshere: Well, the trees are turning early, the geese are flying already, and the ponies are extra shaggy. So yeah, I'm thinking I should fix the woodstove and lay in an extra face cord.

/hick'ry nut people problems


The only trees around here that have turned are my willows, and they always drop their leaves in August, still plenty of geese hanging around too.
 
2014-08-24 12:46:16 PM  

I am Groot: I'm still waiting for summer to start.


Come to Texas. We have plenty of heat.
 
2014-08-24 12:48:34 PM  
The Farmer's Almanac doesn't just roll dice and pick something. Instead, they use techniques of prognostication, which produce forecasts which do slightly better than break even over many years. But prognostication reached its peak around Benjamin's Franklin's lifetime, and has little to recommend it now.

Our own NWS does long-term outlook analyses too. Fortunately, NOAA scientists use models and actual measurement of worldwide climate data, so they tend to do a bit better than the Almanac.
 
2014-08-24 12:48:45 PM  

ginandbacon: whither_apophis: ginandbacon: Does anyone else remember counting the bands on wooly caterpillars as a child to "predict" how bad winter would be?

It was the ratio dark/light I thought. Don't remember which way was which tho.

I found this from NOAA. It's a fun read and brought back a very visceral memory of how they curl up and go rigid when handled. I had no idea about their hibernation and careful freezing though:

"As far as the story about the woolly caterpillar's coat, this is how Mother Nature helps it survive winter.  The fur is called setae and it isn't there to protect them from the cold weather.  Instead it actually helps them to freeze more controllably.  Here is something truly remarkable.  Once settled in, the caterpillars hibernate, creating a natural organic antifreeze called glycerol.  They freeze bit by bit, until everything but the interior of their cells are frozen.  These interior cells are protected by the hemolymph.  Woollybears can - and do - survive to temperatures as low as -90oF.  This ability to adapt to cold shows up particularly in the Arctic, where the woolly worms live in a strange state of slow motion.  Most caterpillars live for two to four weeks before becoming moths.  The Arctic woolly worms, however, spend at least 14 years in the process!  The woolly bear caterpillar has even been known to survive an entire winter completely frozen in an ice cube."

AMonkey'sUncle: Does anyone remember this from a couple of days ago? The FA prediction, that is.

Is this a repeat? I missed it the first time around.


Life .. ah.. Life finds a way.

/the more stuff they find that survives being frozen, the more I'm sure there's life on Europa and Titan.
 
2014-08-24 01:00:58 PM  

DogBoyTheCat: A cold winter?
Must be....GLOBAL WARMING!


Come on, don't you know that global warming can cause a cooling trend?  Didn't you see "Day After Tomorrow"?
 
2014-08-24 01:08:21 PM  

ravenlore: It cannot possibly be colder than the multi-month polar vortex we endured.

It just cannot.


/tell me it cannot, please?


Just let it be in the NE U.S. only.  I never complained about winter until this one past.

Magpies have been flocking. Is that an early sign?
 
2014-08-24 01:12:29 PM  
Astrology that's palatable enough for "country" people. Yeah, won't be laying in the cord wood stocks quite yet.
 
2014-08-24 01:25:44 PM  
A favorite of Pat Roberson! Flipping channels the other day, I came upon the 700 club with had old Pat telling us the baby Jesus approves of the Farmer's Almanac, but not heretical climate change.
 
2014-08-24 01:27:51 PM  
There has been a lot of foggy mornings in August in Chattanooga so lots of snow coming.
 
2014-08-24 01:36:24 PM  

texdent: I am Groot: I'm still waiting for summer to start.

Come to Texas. We have plenty of heat.


Hasn't been too bad where I am this year, but I'm still looking forward to my week and a half of "fall".
 
2014-08-24 02:57:28 PM  

ginandbacon: whither_apophis: ginandbacon: Does anyone else remember counting the bands on wooly caterpillars as a child to "predict" how bad winter would be?

It was the ratio dark/light I thought. Don't remember which way was which tho.

I found this from NOAA. It's a fun read and brought back a very visceral memory of how they curl up and go rigid when handled. I had no idea about their hibernation and careful freezing though:

"As far as the story about the woolly caterpillar's coat, this is how Mother Nature helps it survive winter.  The fur is called setae and it isn't there to protect them from the cold weather.  Instead it actually helps them to freeze more controllably.  Here is something truly remarkable.  Once settled in, the caterpillars hibernate, creating a natural organic antifreeze called glycerol.  They freeze bit by bit, until everything but the interior of their cells are frozen.  These interior cells are protected by the hemolymph.  Woollybears can - and do - survive to temperatures as low as -90oF.  This ability to adapt to cold shows up particularly in the Arctic, where the woolly worms live in a strange state of slow motion.  Most caterpillars live for two to four weeks before becoming moths.  The Arctic woolly worms, however, spend at least 14 years in the process!  The woolly bear caterpillar has even been known to survive an entire winter completely frozen in an ice cube."

AMonkey'sUncle: Does anyone remember this from a couple of days ago? The FA prediction, that is.

Is this a repeat? I missed it the first time around.


A couple of days ago. Sticks in my memory because I made a comment about vortices and was called a fear-monger.
 
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