Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Even Without The Current Warmth, The Sun Is Giving Us Signs Of Spring

This photo, taken Sunday in the woods around my house
in St. Albans, Vermont, shows how the warming late
February sun has first melted the snow around tree
trunks and evergreen branches. 
We've had a few warm days here in Vermont and that deep snowcover we had at the end of last week has seriously eroded, especially in the valleys.

Expected warm weather the rest of the week will further diminish the snow pack.

Even if we had not had the mild conditions, the receding snow cover offers another sign of spring. Go out and notice around tree trunks and under darker trees, like pines.

The snow has disappeared much faster in these spots.

Here's why:

The sun is much stronger in late February than it was in late December. The dark tree bark, the dark pine needles and such attract the increasing warmth of the sun. The heat collecting in these dark objects radiates out into its immediate surroundings.

The result is nice rings of melted snow around tree trunks, and near areas where warmth collects, like on pine and spruce needles.

This, of course is an early sign of spring, much like the changing songs of the chickadees and the brightening hues of goldfinches this time of year.

We'll surely have more wintry blasts here in Vermont in the coming weeks. But the core of winter has passed. It's too soon to say happy spring, but maybe we can celebrate pre-spring.

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