Strange December

Is it me, or is this an odd, eerie time?

I take the pooch out for an early morning walk — its a crisp clear cold December 1. Why do half the trees still have their leaves on? The Oak trees have turned yellow brown, but the foliage is on the trees, instead of in bags on the ground  where they belonged a month ago.

We live a block from the harbor — walk the dog over, where the stiff breeze makes white caps. Its 33 degrees, but last week it was 60. Hmmm, there are still a few sailboats in the water — on December 1 ?! Weird.

The various neighborhood Japanese Dwarf trees are still 90% leaved — turning a lovely golden yellow — but its December, and they should be bare naked. Our  Dwarf Maple has — finally! — dropped 80% of its red leaves this week.

I have no idea what any of this means. Its just very odd . . .

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  1. bucky katt commented on Dec 1

    I have noticed the same things. Don’t have any idea what it means, only that changing weather patterns are altering the growth cycles of certain things in the plant world.

  2. Lee commented on Dec 1

    appears to be related to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere:
    ( article link)

  3. Jeremy Undertaker commented on Dec 1

    Of course this can all be explained by global warming…even the eerie juxtaposition of question and exclamation marks. Long live Al Gore.

  4. Josh commented on Dec 1

    I live in the midwest and most of the trees in my neighborhood have been bare for a couple weeks. The oak in my backyard is still holding on to most of its foliage though.

  5. bastiat commented on Dec 1

    I believe it’s called the weather. It’s only looks funny through the myopia of a short life span.

    And I’ll see your co2 and raise you sunspot activity.

  6. riverrat commented on Dec 1

    All this hoopla about climate change is nothing but a vast left wing conspiracy to spend more money on unnecessary science, crimp economic growth and reduce our material well being.

    Everything is fine, don’t worry about it.

  7. Eclectic commented on Dec 1

    It’s December 1st and I’ve got 2 pears left still hanging on my pear trees and the trees began bearing and have done so continuously since late June… in this, the most severe year of drought since 1880 (hottest summer since 1850!) in my neck of the woods (Southeast but not subtropical, i.e. no 5 oz. sparrows draggin’ off 2 lb. coconuts anywhere close).

    We’ll also have a bumper crops of pecans and quite a few pecan trees have significant green foliage still, so I can only assume it was something about the spring’s better pollination than in past years and/or the reduced burden of insect pests during the drought that allowed the trees to produce such an ample crop. Of course nobody made any hay since the grass can’t tap down long enough roots to thrive… and consequently you’ll have a knife fight break out over any unchained un-guarddogged bales.

    The jetstream pushed significantly northward this whole year and took our annual subtropical adventures and sent them much higher up the Atlantic Seaboard and you got the flooding and balmy autumn as a result.

    Too, leaf dropping is a living process, not a winterkill process. The leaves aren’t killed by the cold weather… they’re killed by their own tree. The tree effectively severs its own leaves by sensing the lower solar radiation and cutting down the supply of water and nutrients distributed to the leaves. The trade off between getting photosynthesized sugars from the leaves as a trade off against the water costs suddenly favors saving the water to prevent dehydration and death for the tree, so it’s “adios leaves.” Around here we had leaf-fall in the summer on some trees that later put out leaves a second time. Notice any tree near you that may have died prior to leaf drop, and you’ll see that if the tree died before shedding its leaves, they’re still there hanging.

    Come to think of it… Naww!! — It’s actually because Al Gore had an Inconvenient Toothache and musta forgotten to drop enough carbon credit tokens in the seeohtoometers while he was fillin’ up the Gulfstream and crisscrossin’ ‘Merca spewin’ out residuohypoproppylenicjetassgass into the atmosphere, and thus he sent the bees on a final WTF mission for human salvation.

  8. tim commented on Dec 1

    [looks outside]

    We have 4 inches of snow on the ground its rising fast. Compared to the last couple of years this is odd as we have not gotten snow until at least the end of December early Jan. But long term this is what we expect.

  9. Thomas commented on Dec 1

    George Bush did it!!

  10. JKB commented on Dec 1

    With the extended Presidential campaigning, there has been a lot of hot air released into the atmosphere lately.

  11. pmorrisonfl commented on Dec 1

    The Fed is engaging in Open Market Operations in the hot air markets. One effect is temperature inflation.

  12. donna commented on Dec 1

    Um, how does spending money on science crimp growth? Or were you joking?

  13. PrahaPartizan commented on Dec 1

    For all of those folks out there concerned about their oak trees not shedding their leaves yet, I might point out that some species of oaks only shed their leaves in the spring, not the fall. So, while some might come down from those species in autumn (I believe white oaks [those with the big, rounded lobe leaves] are most notorious for holding on to their leaves through the winter) because of physical abuse, the trees haven’t deliberately shed them yet. It’s just nature’s way of getting even with suburbanites.

  14. Darin commented on Dec 1

    Sidebar: I read your post off the rss feed that includes an advertisement at the bottom. (I don’t know if it’s been there the whole time or not.) I wholly approve and I’m glad that you have been savvy enough to get it in the feed, but not the actual post. I just hope you get credit if I purchase something off that ad.

  15. Bob A commented on Dec 1

    I don’t doubt global warming but I also know that many ice ages over millions of years was not caused by auto emissions.

    I’m with Dick Cheney on this. Buy construction companies for the long term and cash in on rebuilding everything inland.

  16. Bob A commented on Dec 1

    I don’t doubt global warming but I also know that many ice ages over millions of years was not caused by auto emissions.

    I’m with Dick Cheney on this. Buy construction companies for the long term and cash in on rebuilding everything inland.

  17. JB commented on Dec 1

    This is a clear sign man made global warming will kill us all. Everyone knows the seasons and the weather are constants, very predictable and never change.

  18. DavidB commented on Dec 1

    The trade off between getting photosynthesized sugars from the leaves as a trade off against the water costs suddenly favors saving the water to prevent dehydration and death for the tree, so it’s “adios leaves.”

    so you’re saying there must have been a whole lot more moisture in the NY area this fall to keep Barry’s trees from drying up?

    All that observational training and Barry doesn’t even recognize the direct correlation between walking his dog and the trees keeping their leaves

  19. jimcos commented on Dec 1

    In investing we’re admonished not to take a short period of performance and extend its implications into the future.

    I think meteorology is the same way: Be careful about taking today’s weather (or even this season’s weather) and drawing grand climatological conclusions. Climate change has been around since the Big Bang.

    Maybe the real underlying question is: who are the likely winners and losers in climate change, and how might someone cash in, no?

  20. Ross commented on Dec 1

    It’s that big yellow disk in the sky. If you accurately align Algore’s graph, one will notice that co2 FOLLOWS increases in temp.
    We always wanted to grow corn in Manatoba.

    Anyone remember the Howard Hughs joke from the 70’s. Q. Why is Howard Hughs buying so much desert in Nevada? A. after the BIG ONE, it will be ocean front…..

  21. Fred Singer commented on Dec 1

    Warming is unequivocal. Weather stations, ocean measurements, decreases in snow cover, reductions in Arctic sea ice, longer growing seasons, balloon measurements, boreholes and satellites all show results consistent with the surface record of warming. The urban heat island effect is real but small; and it has been studied and corrected for. Analyses by Nasa for example use only rural stations to calculate trends. Recently, work has shown that if you analyse long-term global temperature rise for windy days and calm days separately, there is no difference. If the urban heat island effect were large, you would expect to see a bigger trend for calm days when more of the heat stays in the city. Furthermore, the pattern of warming globally doesn’t resemble the pattern of urbanisation, with the greatest warming seen in the Arctic and northern high latitudes. Globally, there is a warming trend of about 0.8C since 1900, more than half of which has occurred since 1979.

  22. Barry Ritholtz commented on Dec 1

    Funny, I never mentioned global warming, I specifically wrote:

    “I have no idea what any of this means. Its just very odd . . .”

    but that didn’t stop the wingnuttery from scribing away.

    At some point in the future — when people demonstrate they can behave civilly — we will do a full global warming debate (I have not seen “An Inconvenient Truth” yet. . . )

    Meanwhile, go discuss business books nmext door . . .

  23. Garth commented on Dec 1

    I’ve been a boater for 40+ years and watched sunsets and sunrises regularly. I have never seen so many dark scarlet red sunrises and sunsets. Weird.

  24. Eclectic commented on Dec 1



    I’d have thought you’d have gotten that in the more iconclastic topic of recent treads.

    Okay, so… you want books talked up, huh… Alright, I’ll give you books!

  25. riverrat commented on Dec 1

    I was being sarcastic in my earlier post.

    The odd weather patterns Barry referred to could easily be just that, an odd weather pattern. Or it could be related to global warming.

    But in general, the case for human caused, very rapid global warming is unequivocal and comes from many lines of evidence. Those who doubt this can be equated with those who stubbornly continued to believe the earth is flat. They will be proven wrong just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow.

    To be sure, the climate has changed many times in the past. Indeed, change is probably the norm. But these cycles are usually over hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years. Rapid climate changes due to asteroid impacts (or whatever reason) have invariably had catastrophic impacts on life on earth.

    The rates of change in recent decades should give any thinking person pause- change is happening faster than even most climate scientists thought only a few years ago.

    Human kind is in for some MAJOR upheavals resulting from global warming over the next few decades, from flooding and drought, increased severe weather events, forest dieoffs, ocean acidification, and forced human migrations on a scale we have never seen.

    A good place to start educating ourselves is by reading the International Panel on Climate Change report for policymakers, which you can download at:

    This may be a bit off topic, but I think it behooves investors to consider that warming is real and market trends will be affected in major ways.

  26. North commented on Dec 1

    Well it’s 5 F, windy, icy, snowy and generally butt freezing in Montréal today. The leaves have been gone for a few weeks already leaving the mammals to face the music along the reliable fir trees. The only thing constant about the weather is that it’s always changing. It’s a bit similar to the market.

  27. dave commented on Dec 2

    When Baby-Boomers got their education and then went on to making-a-living, carbon-fuels, for the most part had a “green-light”. So for Al Gore/the U.N./NASA scientist,etc. to now, in the-middle-of-the-game, tell us that the rules have changed, people get angry…

    For the following generations however, it’s becoming estabished orthodoxy that carbon-fuels get a “yellow-light”. And so for a “civilized” dabate on the subject, this is about as far as it goes.

    If the World made sustaining-life-on-Earth it’s highest priorty, carbon-fuels would have been given a “red-light” decades ago. We’ve significantly degraded the planets ability to support life, and sadly are now risking another great extinction.

    Our nations first (and only?) priority is to stuff as much money into the pockets of the already ultra-wealthy, at the expense of budget & trade deficits, workers wages & benefits, foreign relations and the environment. All while waving flags & guns and thumping Bibles & Liberals.

    My guess is that in this century technology eventually will bring forth abundant & cheap sources of clean energy, just like in the last century when we went from Model-T’s to the Space Shuttle…However, there were also many wars. And today there’s no shortage of ‘hot-heads’ spoiling for a fight.

    CEO’s myopic focus on their stocks price [buy-backs] so they can cash-in options may go away. Plus there’ll be higher corporate & capital gains taxes to pay for social-programs and to deal with the effects of runaway global-warming. Government will keep printing money, and individual stocks may pop-higher, but overall the historic Reaganomic’s bull market is over. At best, stocks will have to trade-sideways in getting back to the ‘old school’ metrics of dividends & stock-splits.

    It’s not an End-of-the-World scenerio for THE BIG PICTURE, KUDLOW & CO., GOLDMAN- SACHS, “Uncle Warren” Buffet, coal company’s, defense industry, etc. The technolgy that destroys the natural world can also build artificial environments where overall, the quality of life for the top ~5% should be higher than ever.

    Today most political debates about abortion, immigration, taxes, guns, evolution, the environment ultimately pivot around: What direction do corporations and the multi-billionairs want to go? Middle-America has been crushed. The best “Nurse Nancy & Nurse Hillary” could offer is some triage.

    And so, until our geo-political mortgage on the planets future “resets” global-warming
    doubters rule…Yee-Hah!

  28. DMR commented on Dec 2

    It’s the Bernanke Put. It is more broadbased than the Greenspan put and can keep autumn leaves on trees even when they want to fall off :)

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