When you think of Siberia (it is very possible you never think of Siberia), you probably think of a frigid place virtually uninhabitable except for polar bears. You can understand then how surprised I was to hear the part of Siberia which happens to be in the Arctic Circle reached 118 degrees earlier this summer. Closer to home, Portland hit 116 degrees.
I am never surprised to hear when Death Valley reaches 118 degrees, because occasionally the temperature there reaches 130 degrees, but Siberia is supposed to be frigid, not hot as hell.
The ramifications of climate change are hard to predict, but let me suggest a few possible scenarios. For one thing, animals will have to change their migratory patterns. Birds who now head to Siberia during the summer to escape the heat might just have to reconsider and stay where they are year round.
We humans might also have to change our migratory ways. Who knows what is in store for us? Traditionally people from Canada and the Northeast have flocked to Florida in the winter to avoid the cold weather. They are frequently referred to as “snow birds.” It might no longer make sense for people to travel south when the weather becomes more comfortable up north in the winter time.
Weather has always been a deciding factor for many people when they establish roots (that is why many, if not most of us, reside here in Malibu), but with the weather changing so dramatically, how are people going to make educated decisions? My guess, and I am wrong considerably more than I am right, is that the next wave of population growth will not be to our desert Southwest where there seems to be no water, but rather to our northern neighbor. Canada’s severe winters will probably moderate over time, and people, who want to avoid the simmering heat in the Continental 48, might just head north.
We run the decided risk that Canada will resent the influx of American immigrants and might conceivably build a wall to keep us out. I am certain of one thing—I will not help them build their damn wall to keep me out.
In any case, for those few people who still believe that we are not experiencing global warming, let me be the first to invite you to travel to Siberia next summer, but be sure to bring plenty of suntan lotion with you.