Welcome QR Code readers! If you have scanned the QR Code on my poster, it has brought you here. I am still compiling my full presentation for the SouthEastern Division of the American Association of Geographers Conference, to be held November 24-25, 2019. This post is just a placeholder for the presentation and reference list TBA. In the meantime, enjoy this preview.
I will be continuing my “Meteorology and Myth” Weather-and-Climate Education series this fall with another project on weather lore, this time titled “Meteorology and Myth – Part II: A Fair Candlemas”
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: I teach an introductory course in “Weather and Climate”. Whenever February 2nd rolls around, a student will ask if the “Groundhog Day” predictions are true. I used to always answer “NO!” The presence or absence of sunshine on any one particular day can not be used to determine either a shortened or a prolonged winter. Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are just folksy nonsense.
However, I got to thinking about it … and began to hypothesize that there may be a teaching opportunity in this legend. Although the Groundhog’s prediction does not make meteorological sense in the short term, perhaps there are long-term climatological averages about prolonged-winters and early-springs, which may have allowed the folklore to survive and diffuse.
The purpose of the overall project is to develop general education teaching modules which bridge topics in geography, atmospheric science, history, art, culture and folklore. Students in the arts and humanities often struggle with physical science. Equally, students in Geoscience and other STEM fields often need a greater appreciation for the arts and humanities. The intent is not to have students “prove” whether or not Groundhog Day predictions are true. Instead, the goal is for students to have a better understanding of atmospheric circulations, global teleconnections and weather patterns. Secondarily, students should have a better appreciation for folklore, history, culture and environment.
Look for more updates and embellishments in November!