Saturday 26 March 2011

My important research on Climate Change

Right folks, gosh this has been hard work. Gail has insisted that I present my canine-related climate research as a scientific paper in the proper format: Title, authors, abstract, methods, results and discussion, conclusion, acknowledgements etc.

OK. Let's have a go:


New and novel methods for detecting the arrival of Spring: a canine perspective

(Yes Bertie, that's very good, now the authors, and don't forget anyone)


The consideration of Spring indications involves a parameterisation of

(NO Bertie, it's just supposed to be a summary..)

You never quite know when Spring is going to arrive and it is all very confusing, as you will see. We present some fascinating data on the behaviour of our humans too....


Hi there, I'm Bertie, let me tell you about myself..

(NO Bertie, you're supposed to introduce the topic that you've been researching!)

Almost all human scientists say that, due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the Earth is getting warmer and in many parts the the word Spring is coming sooner. In this paper, we consider the issue of how, from a canine perspective, one detects the arrival of Spring, and whether things are changing. 


I just asked all my pals, and analysed the responses. 

(Well Bertie, it doesn't sound very scientific, but I guess it's what you did).


First I would like to point out that most of my respondents ignored the bit about whether Spring is coming earlier or not and just concentrated on how you know that Winter is over.

The initial impression one gains from the data is an alarming picture of dog-blogging 'Mums' casting off their cold weather clothing with gay abandon. Hats, gloves, jackets, wellies, shoes, socks, I did begin to wonder where it would all end. Perhaps predictions for the impact of global warming should contain warnings about lots of middle aged ladies taking their dogs for early morning walks to the park in their underwear. That would be a truly terrifying scenario (especially as so many of them, particularly in the USA, also suffer from Spring allergies).....

Analysing the data in more detail, one notices that whereas humans have focussed on temperature measurements and visual data (flowers blossoming etc.), us dogs pay more attention to sounds and smells. Many of you, rather poetically, provided data on the tweeting of newly returned birds, the baa-ing of lambs, frogs making a 'racket' and the scent of sea air, jasmine, orange blossoms and the like. 

In some respects, one feels that the data was more revealing of the diverse lifestyles of my friends than of changes in weather patterns. It is interesting to discover, for example, that in South Africa the need to put chemicals in the swimming pool is paramount and in Boston Spring is detected by the departure of the Red Sox team truck to Florida. It came as no surprise that George's contribution concerned the first day when one could sit outside at the pub in Shropshire, and Asta welcomed a new season of al fwesco dining in Greenwich Village...

(Bertie, I suggested you stop rambling on and provide some concrete data - a graph perhaps - or else you will never get this published).

My data came from a wide geographical area, as you can see from the graph below:

Finally, it is worth noting that those few of you who actually bothered to address the issue of whether Spring is nowadays earlier or later or changing in any way (well done Toby and Lola) suggested that the difference is that the climate is becoming more extreme. 


This has all been most taxing and I am now going to take a holiday


The arrival of Spring is a very interesting subject and many valuable new insights were gained from investigating the hitherto neglected perspective of 'dogs with blogs'. 

Thank you to all who participated, and especially to Gail who provided help with the graph. Also I would like to thank in advance the editors of the prestigious journals 'Nature' and 'Science', who will surely soon be battling with each other for the honour of publishing this ground breaking study.


  1. Darling boy, What we are most surprised about your whole paper IS THAT WE ARE FIRST TO RESPOND!!! YIPPEEEEEEEE..ok sorry... back to your paper which we can tell took a lot of time( Archie is kind of sniggering in the background.. now he is kind of snortling and rolling on the ground laughing......) Truly amazing data( esp the point of middle aged women taking us for walks in their underwear)We have no doubts that this astounding piece of scientific data will be published....We think you perhaps(don't let this get to head)should start working on your Nobel acceptance speech... just saying... Love A+A

  2. Bertie! I don't recall writing anything for you about this subject. However I do get a little yawn-y over discussions like this and I may have forgotten or just dozed off. But what is the point? If you are suggesting things are the same everywhere for Spring, you are, of course, wrong.
    The day after spring was proclaimed here we recieved six inches of new snow and there it sits! No warming happening here.


  3. Well Bertie, I don't know about "Nature" or "Science", but we would love to use this as a guest post, with your permission, on Pet Blogs United! You can let us know what you think at PBU at comcast dot net.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  4. I am still stuck on the image of the dog moms in their underwears. Oh the horror!


  5. I think it is great. Are you working on your PHD?
    Sally Ann

  6. Great work, Bertie! We'll look out for the article in all the journals.

    Sounds like spring has forgotten to come according to some of our North American blog friends...they're still having snow and ice.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  7. Bertie, clearly we did not address your research question. Perhaps had you given us some sort of numerical code to enter... Nevertheless, we know Spring arrives by a certain scent in the air which we noticed last week for the first time. And NO, it does not seem earlier than past years, but we suggest a longitudinal study of these data over the next dog-years.
    Thank you,

    Gizmo, Bart and Ruby stationed near JPL

  8. I am with Mango, cant get that picture of Moms in their underwear!! Yikes!!! BOL Dont much bout science but all I cna say is Spring is here when the pesty squirrels drive me crazy and the flowers bloom, that as scientic as I get BOL

    Jazzi and Addy

  9. I just know I feel all scientific and educated just from reading this. I can't wait for your next research project. And you will let us know when this is published, right? We'll want to save a clipping, of course.

  10. Oh Bertie that Gail sure has some rules
    Benny & Lily

  11. Bewtie
    I was thwilled to finally get to wead youw most skientific and pawfectly witten papew. Gail is such a helpful assistant to youw witings. my Daddi says that you awe well on youw way to getting youw PhD (he says that menas piled high and deep...he also has one of those and is pwoud of it, hehehe)
    I'm sowwy I misanswewed youw Weseawch question..ummm, it came eawliew and then it's coming latew..I'm vewy confoosed and since I fowgot to take notes last yeaw on when it awwived, I'm afwaid I'm no hlep at all.
    I'm so happy despite this, you wewe able to wite such an impwessive papew. It's suwe to be published wif gweat acclaim
    smoochie kisses

  12. Bertie - That's awesome. You're a canny wee thing. Talk of ladies in underwear will open up a whole new demographic for this type of scientific research. You'll no be needing yon government subsidies !

  13. Hey Bertie bud...
    Good luck with the publication! You need to amend something though - I wasn't an author! I was a REFERENCE!
    mmmm...and by the way, if I recall correctly, we purposefully told you that we didn't really notice any unusual changes in the timing of Spring here where I live. But never least you mentioned me!
    The other thing you need to perhaps mention in the submission is that this paper prompts an outburst of human laughter. I'm still trying to lick Maxmom off the floor.
    Good work, buddy!

  14. We aren't currently allowed to talk about spring around here, so we're limited as to now we can comment on this post. It seems the arrival of spring (or the lack thereof) is a bit of a sore subject at our house. We're still waiting for our spring moisture (snow). And it's not happening. So. We'll resort to the image of momas in underwear. Or whatever. And we'll curl up under blankies and watch movies. Of spring. And dogs. Or maybe we'll read journal articles. About spring. and dogs.

    Your frustrated wirey pals in Colorado
    Jake and Fergi

  15. We appreciate the opportunity to contribute in a minor way to this important scientific work about recognizing the arrival of Spring. We submit, however, that 'earlier' and 'later' are human constructs and of little concern to domesticated dogs. While we may have, faut de mieux, learned to tell human time so we can be sure we are fed on schedule, walked on schedule, etc., the seasons change when they change and it doesn't affect us much if there's a shift in the timing of the change. We consciously read clocks, not calendars.

    However, if we were still wild [as opposed to feral domestic] canines and dependent upon our ability to anticipate Spring to plan for our food supply, whelping, survival of our pups, etc., then the ability to discern a shift in the cycle of change in seasons could have survival value.

    So we posit another question. Has 50,000 years, give or take, of domestication resulted in the actual loss of our abililty to discern a change in the timing of seasonal change, or have we merely forgotten how to use this instinctive ability, assuming we ever had it? We argue that we retain the instinct, as witessed by the fact that one harbinger of Spring is our non-voluntary commencement of the shedding season. What guides us is the triggering of the instinct, not when the trigger is pulled.

    Now if mama had interposed her opinions instead of attempting to accurately reflect ours, she would agree that the real effect of global warming, at least in a time frame humans can comprehend, is a marked increase in weather extremes, which includes hotter summers, snowier winters, not more hurricanes but stronger hurricanes, more droughts in some geographic areas and seasons and more flooding in others, etc. Have we already passed the tipping point for unstoppable climate change? Sadly, mama thinks the answer is yes. So where's our Starship Enterprise going to be when we really need it? Sadly, an aborted victim of budget cuts.

    Jed & Abby

  16. MOL Bertie!!!
    Mom and I cracked up this see Mom works in the Physics Department at NC State University...(oh and she is retiring on March 31, 2011). She sees very similar reports, abstracts and conclusions daily!
    Well done,
    Madi and Mom

  17. Heck Bertie, can you put it in more simple terms, its gone over my head!!!I like the pretty graph.
    All I know is we have all had funny weather, hopfully we will get a summer
    I need a beer!!
    Have a good week
    See Yea George xxx

  18. OMD Bertie you are so smart! Your Momma is too!

    It sure is nice to learn something new and important too!

    woo woos, Tessa

  19. Dawling Bewtie
    I'm suwe you awe still exhausted fwom witing that most im[awtant and edoocational papew on climate change.
    I hope you wewe able to west a little and have some fun in the last few days.
    Have you been contacted by the impawtant jouwnals yet??
    DOn't settle fow anything less than a fwont page awticul.
    smoochie kisses fwom youw pwoud cousin

  20. Her Bertie
    I wanted to let you know, that Uncle Ed added an bunny activity to the bunny contest, so hope to see you Hopping!! :-)


  21. You know, Bertie, if YOU were to write textbooks for school instead of the boring geeks that DO, people might actually learn something interesting AND it would be FUN, too!

    Excellent job on your paper!

    The Road Dogs

  22. Oh WOW you are quite a scientist, Bertie! I am VERY impressed!!!!!

  23. Nobel Prize??? Did we hear Agatha say you might win with this??? OMD...well, there is little spring in our step here in started two weeks ago and stopped. And it's to snow again tomorrow.

    You did an amazing job...I plan on arriving shortly for a personal PPP...that would be power point presentation and NO I'm not bring Katie with me...

    Kisses, Bertie...

    Miss Lacie