The First Day of Spring, 2013

Los Angeles Spring…was today, February 28th. At least in my non-scientific, highly qualitative opinion.

When I was in college during the 1980’s, spring break occurred during the second and third weeks of March. I would fly back to Los Angeles from New England, to be greeted by a southern California winter, which of course wasn’t much of a winter at all: cool and temperate, not cold at all, but not warm, either.

Something always happened, however, during the third week of March. During one day of that week, spring would arrive, not chronologically, but meterologically. One day would carry a shimmer of warmth, as well as something not precisely describable indicating to me that spring had arrived in southern California. Perhaps it was the warmth together with the somewhat longer days, but I would know that even the mild Los Angeles winter was over. And then I would fly back, arrive at Newark airport, and think that maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea after all to leave home for a college so far away.

Today, that warmth returned. Spring is here in Los Angeles. That doesn’t mean it will always be warm — the forecast calls for rain next week, and there is always June Gloom, but it hit today.

And if you notice that “February 28th” does not equal “third week in March”, then a) you are right; and b) put this down as one small data point that climate change is here as well.  Weather does not equal climate.  One data point does not prove a trend.  Or as the Yiddish saying goes, “for instance isn’t proof.”  But it is certainly what one would expect from climate predictions.  That’s one more cost to climate change: you can’t even enjoy spring in quite the same way anymore.


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Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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