Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Global Climate Change Is Thailand’s Friend

I know a little bit about Thailand’s weather. The first year that I was here was 2547, oh, I mean 2004. We landed after midnight on January 9th and it was over ninety degrees. We all broke out in a drenching sweat immediately. That was the “cool season,” or what some Thais with advanced senses of humor call the “cold season,” or winter.

The “hot season” starts in March, and that first year was really one to remember. I had no air-con, and the Peace Corps had us riding bikes all over hell-and-gone. I was dizzy half the time, my ankles swelled up, and I wondered if the sun hadn’t moved closer to the earth all of a sudden.

Traditionally the cool season is six weeks or so within the months of December and January. Usually, it’s never really cool at all, except maybe between 3: and 5:00 a.m., and then it only goes down to the high seventies, unless you’re in the mountains where it may actually get cool, high sixties until the sun clears the horizon. The hot season gets rolling in March. April is the worst, and the thermometer can reach ten degrees over body temperature, like it did that first April. Then, usually in June, the rainy season comes and the temperatures moderate a little. That’s been the pattern for a long, long time.

It’s different now. This last year, the cool season was really, really cool. Cool and long, it lasted every inch of three months, December, January and February. Even in Bangkok it was cool all of that time, like light blanket at night cool, like hardly sweat at all during the day cool. In the mountains it got so cold that people died, it got down to the low fifties and believe me, for Thai people that is technically freezing. And this year, there was no hot season. As soon as the cool season ended, the rain started, and I’m here to tell you, the weather has been quite decent, I must say.

Oh, it breaks ninety degrees now, it’s June, but only by the barest of margins, and at night we coast through in the low eighties, which is hardly hot at all. Most days it rains, and that makes it even better. We could always get a hot surprise somewhere along the line, but I don’t think so. Last year was similar, if a little bit hotter. Early onset of the rainy season, strangely reasonable temperatures after an April that was pretty hot if there was no rain but not as hot as usual. I think the weather here is changing, for the better.

So I’m wondering: has all of this Global Climate Change been good for Thailand?

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