There is a popular assumption that if you move to higher latitudes
(toward the poles) you can escape the heat, and that by moving to
lower latitudes (toward the equator) you can escape the cold.
The equation is simple. But is it real? If it was, then the most
northerly capital, Reykjav, would also be the coldest...at least
until they establish a country on Antarctica. Yes, it appears that
latitude is slacking off and failing to keep temperatures in line.
This was brought home to me when preparing for a radio interview in
Dublin, Ireland. February had just roiled in and I was sitting back
comfortably in my good old Ottawa weather, scraping icicles off my
toes. I was giddy with e *** ment over our warm spell, which it was
reaching a high of minus-5 (that's about 20-degrees American). I
always ask questions the day before an interview, to learn a bit about
my audience, so I asked the producer, "So what's the weather forecast
in Dublin?" asked.
"Oh it's horrible," she told me. "People are bracing for a deep winter
freeze that's supposed to hit tonight. It might even get as cold as
This blew me away, that the folks in Dublin would be worried about the
thermometer dips as low as ours spikes high. After all, isn't Dublin
about the same latitude as Ottawa?
I whipped out my trusty atlas. We live almost exactly on the 45th
parallel. If we lived exactly on it, we would have to share our bed
with a cow and a dozen chickens across the road - that's how close we
I turned the pages to find Ireland. Could I have been mistaken? Is
Dublin really quite south of us? No, it turns out that Dublin lies at
the 53rd parallel. Hey! They should