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Down the Road

Global hotting, believe it or believe it
By Milton M. Gross
Jul 22, 2012 - 2:16:21 AM

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Every winter when the temperature dips only to ten above or zero fahrenheit, those global warming skeptics say something like, "See how cold it is? No global warming. I'll keep driving my giant SUV."

But I never notice them commenting on global warming on days like we've had recently. Ninety-five above.

Wonder why.

Maybe they really, really, really like those SUVs. Enough to wreck the entire world.

At 4:30 p.m. anywhere in Maine, it should not be this hot. Photo by Milt Gross.

All the stuff I've read, including lots of comments from scientists, say it's not only coming, but it's here.


And we don't even own an SUV. Our little Toyotas, a Yaris sedan and a Scion hatchback, both get 40-45 miles per gallon. And that Scion carries lots of stuff...fair-sized stuff.

Without adding to global warming.

For Baylus, a historian I met this week on my Island Explorer bus in Southwest Harbor, I remember when the winter temperatures were 20 -- even 35 below fahrenheit -- in western Maine and in Bangor.

I remember when it was so cold in Swanville I couldn't stand out on the ice of the lake. I had to get into the woods to gain ten degrees or so.

I remember when I first came to Maine, one evening when it was about 25 below, sticking my finger down into the Rambler's radiator cap to make sure it wasn't freezing. It wasn't.

But it was so cold it burned my fingers. Huh? Don't know how. Just happened. Never done it since.

I remember in South Paris cross-country skiing through March and well into April. This was prior to about 1988, when the winter snow would melt in January or early February and refreeze for awhile as ice. I invented a new sport, cross-country ice skiing. Not a lot of fun and got to meet way too many trees up front and personal. My person slamming into their trunks.

None of that any more, for a different reason, my poor leg that got bent out of shape in the woods several years ago. No longer worry about skiing into trees.

The most recent cold, real cold, I recall was about six and seven years ago, when it was down to ten or 12 below at night for about two weeks in a row along Maine's frozen rocky coast. The cold eased down to below the normal frost line and many towns lost their water supply. The pipes burst or just were plugged with ice.

Ah yes, I remember those selectmen meetings in Southwest Harbor, when residents came to complain about their loss of water.

But since then? About a half-dozen snowstorms a winter. Maybe down as cold as ten above or very occasionally zero in our part of Maine.

Definitely warmer than it used to be.

SUVs causing it? Maybe not totally, from what I read, but they help.

It's was so hot last week I didn't even want to think seriously about how hot a job it would be to pile our 14-foot Old Town canoe on the Scion and head to a lake. I did remember, fondly, cruising along Pitcher Pond last year under full electric-outboard-motor steam. That breeze was pleasant.

I read last week in the paper that more intense storms and heat waves are a couple of results of global warming -- such as all over the U.S. this year. And in Europe last year, when storms were so awful they left thousands out in the cold, as it were.

One recent morning as I walked outside in the cool of the morning, about 65 degrees at 7 a.m., I thought I heard a lettuce plant in the garden, beg, "Hey, give us a little cool."

Thought for a minute it was a teenager. Don't they talk like that?

I found some grass clippings my daughter dug out of the lawnmower last week and piled on the ground. I placed them around the lettuce.

"Thank you," I may have heard it say.

Or maybe not.

So glad that lettuce doesn't drive an SUV.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2012

Milt Gross Down the Road A Piece Column

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