Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gloomiest Winter Ever

On February 28th, German newspapers were full of reports like this:

Der Winter 2012/2013 ist der sonnenscheinärmste seit Beginn der flächendeckenden Wetteraufzeichnungen im Jahr 1951. Der Deutsche Wetterdienst bezeichnete den Januar und Februar als "ungewöhnlich trüb". Seit Anfang Dezember gab es in Deutschland im Schnitt nur 96 Sonnenstunden, normal sind 154.

The winter of 2012-13 had the least hours of sunshine since comprehensive weather record-keeping began in 1951.  The German Weather Service characterized January and February as unusually overcast.  Since the beginning of December there were on average only 96 hours of sunshine, compared to 154 normally.

Please keep in mind that we are talking here about 96 hours in 3 months, or an average of all of one hour of sunshine per day.   I have to wonder what counts as sunshine here, however, with such an anemic northern sun that barely casts a shadow from Thansgiving to well past the Berlinale.  And I really don't know why they didn't include November, which to me was one of the dampest, coldest and grayest I have yet seen. Winter's gotten even more insistent, though, in March, with two significant snowfalls, one of which has actually remained on the ground for a week now (not at all common in Berlin, where everything usually melts away within a day or two).  And it's been down around -10C  for two different periods, several nights running.

Even I, who have become quite fond of the mental peace and quiet that months with little or no sun engender in me, am really rather sick of it all.  More than anything, I'm tired of having worn the same ugly green winter coat for seven winters now, to the point that the down filling has lost its loft and is in no way sufficient for such cold. And that's not to mention months of clunking around everywhere in heavy winter boots. Spring will feel mighty good this year, if and when it finally arrives.

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