by Viv Forbes, science writer
In January 2016, a fierce blizzard in Texas left snow drifts up to 4m deep and killed 35,000 dairy cows and 12,000 beef cattle. Cold kills and there is no food in snow.
There is abundant food in steamy equatorial regions but only a few hardy species survive precariously in the dry, icy climate of the frigid zones.
The great animal migrations seek to escape the hungry winters by following the warmth or chasing the new pasture from spring storms.
Reindeer follow the sun – they spend the summer grazing on the rich pastures of the treeless tundra, but when the snow starts they head south for the protection of the forests. Moose also migrate to lower land in winter – staying ahead of the descending snowline.
Snow geese are not silly – they follow the sun towards the equator as winter approaches and then fly back when the summer sun melts the snow and energises the dormant pastures.
Bears have a climate-smart winter strategy – they find a cosy cave and hibernate, conserving their body warmth and reducing their energy needs to what can be sustained by their carbon-rich fat reserves.
Most humans are also sun-worshippers (apart from the jet set who travel in air-conditioned comfort to over-heated lodges so they can cavort briefly in the snow confident that someone else has produced the food, coffee and warmth they will soon return to).
Holidaying humans tend to follow the sun towards the equator. They do not head for Archangel or Antarctica in winter – they head for the Bahamas, Bali, Cairns, sunny Spain or the Black Sea. Being “Sent to Siberia” was a punishment not a reward.
Farmers fear early frosts but welcome early spring rain.
The geological record is also very clear on the matter of global temperatures – cold is the killer. The mammoths were not killed by a heat wave – they were snap frozen in ice. About 100 species of mega-fauna also disappeared in the end-Pleistocene ice age. The great ice sheets sterilised more fertile land and forests than rising sea levels will ever do.
It is a testament to the power of propaganda and vested interests that a whole generation is having hysterics about a natural beneficial climate cycle – the modern warm, wet era.
A return to the cold, dry and carbon-starved climate of the Little Ice Age would cause world-wide famines; humans may not survive a return to Pleistocene Ice Age conditions.
Our warm globe supports life; cold kills.
Cold weather kills more people than hot weather:
35,000 dairy cows killed in Texas Blizzard:
12,000 beef cattle killed in Texas blizzard: