It is difficult to get into the winter spirit this February when we’ve seen more grass on the ground than snow. Given the recent weather patterns, along with the fact that groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, there is no doubt that we can expect an early spring. This winter is a bit of a disappointment given that it does not feel like one. A cold winter always brings perks that a warm winter cannot provide.

Many people might ask, “What is causing this warm weather?” According to CNN, the answer is El Niño, a warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean. The 2015 El Niño has heated up the atmosphere and changed circulation so much that it can possibly break the 1997 El Niño’s record. Environmentally, it affects various parts of the world differently. Opening up to a more global perspective, an article from Germany’s government-run broadcaster Deutsche Welle explains more. It states that El Niño harms Latin American marine life as warm water temperatures kill off corals, plankton and algae, causing fish to then leave to look for food. In the West Pacific, droughts, poor harvests and forest fires occur. El Niño also intensifies storms. Overall, the obvious impact it has on everyone is the unusually warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, for those who love the snow, this winter is not their year.

In the New England area, we are used to a year of four distinct seasons that includes a cold winter. We’ve become accustomed to a weather cycle, so it seems out of place for the temperature to be warm during a season that we expect to be bitterly cold. Winter activities like building a snowman, sledding and ice skating are limited when we only have one exaggerated snowstorm known as Jonas. Those activities are appreciated much more and last longer when a real winter is here. Even the little things like sipping on hot chocolate are much more satisfying when it is freezing cold outside and you just want to warm up. Freshman Maureen Perry said, “Since last winter was so harsh, it is surprising how warm it has been. It feels as if winter activities are being skipped over, as well as the winter season itself.” Many of us are guilty of complaining about the cold weather, including myself. Unfortunately, you sometimes regret wishing the cold away when you realize it has its perks.

There are many direct negative effects of not having a cold winter. In an article found online from science news syndicator Live Science, it is said that because temperatures are warmer than usual, insects do not die off, allowing them more time to multiply. Additionally, retail is having difficulty selling winter gear because there is no need. Thankfully, places like ski resorts are lucky to have snow-making technology to keep them in business; but, because the weather has been too warm, many businesses delayed their season opening. The warm weather also can influence the demand for natural gas and heating oil. El Niño affects more than we might think.

Beach lovers would be heartbroken if summer was never hot enough to go to the beach. I cannot imagine how people who love snow feel right now. Nonetheless, those who do not like the snow still lose what it brings us. We all miss out on the anticipation of class getting cancelled because of a snow day. Those snow days are either an excuse to lay in bed all day and watch movies, or have time to be productive. The cold winter is the most wonderful time of the year for binge watching Netflix, featuring one of my favorite movies, “Unconditional.” Additionally, winter fashion is lost in these temperatures that are much warmer than they should be. The big, cozy sweaters that we love were only brought out sparingly so far this winter. Also, people who rely on shoveling snow for some extra cash are probably considering buying a lawnmower instead. Many people might hate the chilling temperatures, but without them we miss out on a lot.

Out of the entire year, winter is only around for so long, and many people look forward to it. With temperatures that do not meet the standards of what a real winter should feel like, this so-called “winter” was a disappointment. Having our winter consist of one major snowstorm and warm temperatures makes it seem like we skipped a season. Although I tell myself that I hate the cold, it would not feel right to have a winter like this every year. Looking through all the benefits that can be experienced only during a cold winter, I am in no rush to have a repeat of this one.

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