Joetopia

Anyone want to take a leap month?

In all the hullabaloo over global warming and El Niño and shrinking glaciers and rising ocean temperatures, there’s another weird phenomenon occurring that I’m pretty sure only me and some guys at UC Berkeley have noticed.

I think the seasons are shifting.

As in everything is starting about a month later than the date on the calendar says it should.

(The Berkeley guys and some of their pals at Harvard conducted a study in 2009 funded by the National Sciene Foundation and concluded it’s only two days, but what do they know?)

First off, I’m sure this has been going on for a long time and is probably the result of several hundred centuries of leap year days not quite calculating out right in the global scheme, meaning every year we’ve been slipping just a wee bit until now, suddenly, we find ourselves shivering on Memorial Day and roasting in November.

Did we not hit the 90s just a couple weeks ago? Think about it.

Sept. 21 is the first day of fall, yet it often feels like the middle of August.

June 21 is the first day of summer, yet Junes of late have seemed more springlike.

I can remember the Junes during the last two weeks of the elementary school years of my youth, when the weather would turn very warm suddenly, as though offering a prelude to the weeks of sun and fun ahead.

Meanwhile, we’ve got winter allegedly starting on Dec. 21. Yeah right.

And just because it’s raining a bit this weekend doesn’t mean everything’s back on track.

The week before Dec. 21 last year, we were at Lake Tahoe desperately praying for snow so that the ski resorts could actually open for business. There was a time they used to start turning the lifts by Thanksgiving.

Maybe this weekend’s storm will actually make that a reality this year.

These days, the only way the resorts hit that mark is if they work the snowmakers on overtime.

Meanwhile, most Decembers around here aren’t much colder than October, and sometimes you get those weird heat spells where it’s suddenly 90 for a whole week.

When winter finally does arrive with spells of freezing temperatures, the calendar’s usually approaching Valentine’s Day and supermarkets are littering their aisles with Easter candy.

If something isn’t done soon, we’ll flip-flop with the Southern Hemisphere entirely and be hitting the slopes in July and holding swim parties in January.

Luckily for you people, I’m on the case, and I have a simple solution.

Or actually two solutions.

The first one — Option A — is to institute a one-time leap month, extending the year enough so that we restore what should be the proper timing of the seasons.

I like this one best because it would push the solstices back toward the middle of their respective seasons, which is where they belong.

The shortest day of the year shouldn’t be the beginning of winter, it should be the dead of winter.

Likewise, the longest day of the year should be ensconsed in the middle of the laziest week of summer, not right at the beginning, burned up and retreating with days getting shorter before you can even say “The BBQ starts at 7!”

The other choice — Option B, and this is probably the simpler one — is to re-label the “first day of” days on the calendar so that they reflect the way seasons are in real life.

So winter would start on January 21, spring on April 21, summer on July 21 and fall on October 21.

So that’s the plan. If I can get John Lindsey aboard, I’m sure we can get this done. Who’s with me?

Joe Tarica is the presentation editor at The Tribune and writes the Joetopia blog at http://sloblogs.thetribune news.com/joetopia/. Reach him at jtarica@thetribunenews.com or share your comments online.

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