Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Groundhogs: Gentlemen Rodents of Science and Nature

It's Groundhog Day!

These wonders of nature peek up out of their holes to look around and oh! see their shadow drat, six more weeks of winter, or oh! No shadow! Yippee! Early spring!

Apparently the localish land-beavers are predicting six more weeks of winter or is it an early spring? Gentlemen Scientists and Weatherpersons are saying we'll be lucky to only have 6 more weeks of winter. Who to believe?

Groundhogs say six more weeks of winter, experts say six weeks if we're lucky

Weather Journal: On Day of Ice, Only Groundhog Sees Spring

Groundhogs forecast an early spring - in the middle of a blizzard

Currently we are in the middle of a big winter snowstorm colourfully called Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse or Blizzardzilla.

Here's Caesar coping with the severe lack of visibility out his favorite window due to the snowpocalypse.

And over here we can see the snowpocalypse dangerously at my doorstep!!! Look it's even on the doorknob! AHHHHHHHHH!

The Guardian newspaper in the UK amassed a data fact sheet concering how often groundhogs were correct in their prognostications vs how many times they were wrong.
That these rodents are predicting the weather at all seems to me an automatic pass and I am fine with "hoping they are right" if I like what they say or "hoping they are wrong" if they don't. But, alas, this is not enough for some who crave more facts than I, so we have now a statistical chart of groundhog successes and failures in the meterological realm

Here is the article: Groundhog day 2011: how well can groundhogs predict the weather?

and while it provides a spreadsheet there is a more detailed version here:

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, or in some areas as a land-beaver, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Other marmots, such as the yellow-belliedhoary marmots, live in rocky and mountainous areas, but the woodchuck is a lowland creature. It is widely distributed in North America and common in the northeastern and central United States. Groundhogs are found as far north as Alaska, with their habitat extending southeast to Alabama
(from wikipedia)

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