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Flowers in Alps, bears can't sleep as winter waits


Earth News: The Alps
Dec 03, 2006

Flowers are blooming on the slopes of Alpine ski resorts and bears are having trouble hibernating in Siberia amid a late start to winter that may be a portent of global warming. RARE December pollen is troubling asthma sufferers as far north as Scandinavia. From Ottawa to Moscow, temperatures have been way above average at the start of the winter in the northern hemisphere - with exceptions including a RARE snowstorm in Dallas, Texas. Like many places, Austria has had the MILDEST AUTUMN SINCE RECORDS BEGAN and many ski resorts have delayed the season's start. From Siberia to Estonia, bears have had trouble going to sleep for their winter hibernation because their hideaways are uncomfortably warm, soggy and damp. Renowned for frosty winters, Moscow started the calendar winter on Dec. 1 with the WARMEST DECEMBER DAY SINCE RECORDS BEGAN IN 1879 - 4.5 degrees Celsius (40.1 Fahrenheit). Snows are also late in Rovaniemi near the Arctic Circle in Finland. The Norwegian Meteorological Institute said it would start measuring pollen - mainly from hazel trees - on Monday for the first time before the New Year.

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