World Meteorological Day 2020 is on Monday, March 23, 2020: Why is there a "groundhog day"? What is its significance?


Monday, March 23, 2020 is World Meteorological Day 2020.

Why is there a "groundhog day"? What is its significance?

Groundhog Day may seem like a newfangled ceremony — what with Punxsutawney Phil living in a climate-controlled environment in the town library (where he is fed dog food and ice cream) and being transported once a year to Gobbler's Knob where tuxedo-clad gentlemen await his exit from a heated burrow at 7:25 a.m. on February 2 and bend down respectfully to receive his meteorological prognostications and convey them to a breathless media and an attentive world...

But, in truth, the roots of Groundhog Day go way back. Consider this entry from the diary of a shopkeeper named James Morris, of Morgantown, Pennsylvania:

February 4, 1841 — "...Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate." (From the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College.)

Go back further, and you'll come across Imbolc, midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox (one of the year's cross-quarter days). It is celebrated nowadays on February 1 or 2, and it is a festival of light reflecting the lengthening days and the coming of spring. In fact, in the Irish calendar, Imbolc is the first day of spring. This correlates nicely with the belief that the lack of a shadow on that day indicates the end of winter (cloudy, overcast skies often come together with milder temperatures).

The groundhog, a brownish, short-legged, heavyset cousin of the squirrel, is a hibernating animal that lives in burrows. Its other name is woodchuck, which inspired the famous tongue twister: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

The traditional answer is: A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. But a more practical piece of information came from wildlife expert Richard Thomas, quoted in The Wall Street Journal. He calculated that the average groundhog moves approximately one square meter (35 cubic feet), or 320 kilograms (700 pounds), of dirt when digging a burrow.

On February 2, groundhogs by any name will take a break from their burrowing and their hibernating, and check the ground to see whether winter is on its last gasp or still going strong. And thanks in part to the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, many of us will be waiting to find out.

Recommended Sites:

The official site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club

The site of Wiarton Willie, the Canadian counterpart of Punxsutawney Phil

One groundhog's blog

Why Groundhog Day is really based on Chinese astronomy

Punxsutawney Phil's 2006 prediction

Amazon Gold Box

what is the theme of this year for worlds meteorological day?

what is the theme of this year for worlds meteorological day?

This year, the theme is “Weather, climate and the air we breathe”.

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Is the Meteorological Office of the UK to be congratulated?

Is the Meteorological Office of the UK to be congratulated?

Here we are sparing with words. Notice how many warmies cast this off as being weather not climate. But notice just this last day one of them presented a chart showing we had the hottest May on record.

But you make a good point. One which naturally escapes the illogical minds of the warmies. If you can't predict short term weather how are you going to forecast long term weather? Now they cry, "That's not fair! We are talking about CLIMATE not weather!" That is just like saying, "I can't see the forest because of all those darn trees out there." They fail to acknowledge that weather makes up the greater portion of the climate.

You see they can't define Climate Change and any attempt they do is so ambiguous they can claim a sudden rainfall as Climate Change. Case in point: Out in Oregon a couple built this house on arid land. The authorities came out after a rainstorm and after measuring the water content of the soil declared it a wetland. The couple invested their life savings in this property and now has to defend it against the government. You see the more ambiguous their laws are you are more likely you are to become a criminal just by the fiat of some unelected official.

I don't want to be made a criminal on climate standards by people who can't even predict the weather accurately. What sane person would?

But the fact is the warmies are getting monies, enacting legislation and enforcing laws every day on bogus science which cannot accurately predict the weather next week.

EDIT: minti I think that is a well thought out analogy. It does make a lot of sense and I am giving you a thumbs up for the logic. By the way we in the US have the 'Farmer's Almanac' that is true but we also have the beavers. The thickness of the walls of their huts is fairly accurate prediction as to how cold the winter will be.

Now though the analogy is based on odds. In other words, Man U is a usually strong team and so that would be a pretty safe bet. It is not a certainty! Many top players could get injured and there could be bad calls. Many factors go into this so it is a gamble not a certainty.

The fact that Climate Change is never presented as odds which you can bet on. It is presented as a certainty and the authorities bet on it with our money not theirs. Would you bet on Man U if you knew their top players were hurt and would not play next season? No! And if they kept that fact a secret till after you placed your bet you certainly would be mad. That is just what just what the AGW movement is doing by cooking the books and deceiving participants and the public. Would you make that bet if Man U never had a good team and their players were lousy? NO! On the same note, none of the warmie predictions have come true so far and yet we are forced to bet on this dog AGW by the authorities. Isn't it funny that the authorities get rich by betting our money and we get poor? Isn't it funny that we have less freedoms because of this dog AGW? When the bookie makes a bad decision he pays. When we make a bad decision we lose. However when the authorities make a bad decision we lose and often the authorities get more power and richer. That is a proven fact. One which no one can deny.

Now how much money do you want to bet that Man U will win the championship 50 years from now? See what I mean?

Also on this date Monday, March 23, 2020...