Friday, November 12, 2010

The Forecast is Fuzzy

Someone around here has been engaging in a bit of wishful weather thinking. In his desperation to back up his fantasy of an easy winter and early spring he took as evidence the size of the stripes on this passing Woolly Bear Caterpillar.

Well, we've got some bad news for ya buddy.

It is the larvae of this species which are the subject of common folklore, which has it that the forthcoming severity of a winter can be predicted by the amount of black on the caterpillar. But,in fact, larvae produced in the same clutch of eggs can vary from mostly red to mostly black, even when reared under the same conditions, and this variability invalidates any actual temperature-related trends that may otherwise be evident. The reality is that the orange band will continue to grow towards the ends of the body, with the black bands decreasing in size, as the larva matures. Sadly, if there is any truth to the aphorism, it is highly speculative.

- From Wikipedia

Take heart, The Farmer's Almanac is on your side with plenty of true believers weighing in on woolly winter weather. And if they don't back up your theory, maybe Canadian farmer Gus Wickstrom's technique of predicting weather with a pig spleen will.

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