March: In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lamb

The normally wildly unpredictable March has come in like a lamb, and is, well, going out like one too.

And while spring officially commenced on March 20th, many parts of Canada, Ottawa included, have already been experiencing spring-like (and even summer-like!) weather for weeks. In fact, Ottawa smashed nine daily temperature records this month, and a quick stroll through the capital’s streets last weekend revealed all the signs of July or August, not March: flip-flops, shorts, ice-cream cones, bustling patios, and blooming flowers, to name a few.


Many of us are quick to welcome this early onset of warm weather (after all, who doesn’t like being able to walk around in a t-shirt mid-March?), but some experts caution there are consequences, too – some of them unforeseen.

Ottawa Life asked some of our faithful readers what they thought about the recent mind-boggling weather. Is the early onset of spring cause for celebration, or worrisome? Could it be a sign of global warming, or simply part of the Earth’s natural cycle?

“I can’t complain,” admitted Kerri Aldridge, 49, “but it’s probably not good for the environment. Maybe the Mayans were onto something with their whole 2012 end of the world prediction.”

“Well I’m in a sun dress and it’s March,” laughed Jeanine Baxter, 35, “but I guess in the back of my head I’m a bit perplexed, to say the least. We are definitely experiencing global warming, but whether or not it’s natural or caused by man, I’m not sure.”

“Some unusual weather here and there isn’t anything that worries me. One year, or even ten years, is a small amount of time to make any conclusions about the climate,” stated John Wisenberg, 24.

Gardener Brandon Jones, 50, is worried about his plants, saying he hopes they do not “die in a cold snap. From a few barely chilly days to this heat-wave, I’m wondering if summer will be just as fickle!”

Experts warn we can expect a lot more pests this season.

While us humans can easily adjust to shifts in temperature, it can be much more difficult for certain plants and animals. Charles Davis, of Harvard University, explained that, “certain groups are hit harder than others, and those species that are not able to respond to climate change are being hit the hardest.” An early spring can create disconnect when some plants bud earlier than usual, and then are caught out by frosts. This is particularly a cause for concern for those of us who make a living harvesting plants, fruits and vegetables.

Early budding can bring other concerns, as well. Some insect specialists are worried that pest populations might soar in certain areas, because there wasn’t a hard winter to kill insects off. The combination of a mild winter and an early spring means we can undoubtedly expect a lot more bugs this season.

Thought sweet, this early taste of summer, which started before winter had even officially ended, is a bit jarring. The unseasonably warm weather has undoubtedly left many of us wondering – one way or another, will we pay for this?