As the United Nations conference on climate change ended in Copenhagen, many received a rude reminder that the effects of global warming are indeed upon us. The timing could not have been worse, coming just before a major holiday travel period.


Over this weekend, one of the largest snowstorms in many years impacted the largest populated cities on the U.S. east coast.  Blizzard-like conditions and unusually large snowfall stranded major cities from Washington DC up the east coast to Boston.  The snowfall stranded many, cancelled more than 1600 airline flights and disrupted transportation throughout the U.S. northeast.  Today, upwards of half a million airline passengers were attempting to find alternative flights or transportation.


According to a Bloomberg article, as much as 24 inches (60 centimeters) of snow fell of Bethesda Maryland, and 23 inches of snow was recorded at Philadelphia International Airport.  Here in Boston, where I reside, in excess of 21 inches of snowfall fell on portions of Cape Cod and the southeastern coast, while moving just 20 miles inland, snowfall levels dropped off dramatically as the storm center shifted direction out to sea.  There is a foot of snow outside my window and its bitter cold as I pen this posting.


In Europe, a bitter cold snap and snowstorms have had dramatic winter impact as well.  The underground Eurostar trains between London and Paris were forced to shut down unexpectedly last week as trains stopped dead in the tunnel because of what is suspected to be the effects of condensation caused by outside cold and inside warmth.  Upwards of 60,000 travelers were left stranded for up to twelve hours in the tunnel and service has still not be restored. 


According to a BBC News article this afternoon, additional rail, air, and road transport links are disrupted across northern Europe where snowstorms and bitter cold are impacting major areas. Parts of the continent experienced 20 inches (50 centimeters of snow over the weekend.


Of course, the timing of all of this bad weather could not have been worse, coming just before the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period where so many have travel plans, or where last-minute shopping and logistics fulfillment is in its final stages. UPS alone had expected to deliver 22 million packages today, its busiest day of the year.


There should be no doubt on whether global warming has impacted the planet, especially if you had prior or upcoming plans to travel in the U.S.or Europe for the holidays. 


To parody the movie quote from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)-


Global warming, I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ proof of global warming!


Let us all look to the glass half-full- many of us will be experiencing  a white Christmas this year.


In spite of all this dirruption, do enjoy the holidays.


Supply Chain Matters will not be publishing for the remainder of this week as I take some time to be with family and friends, and recharge.


Stay tuned for a series of new postings next week, the last week in 2009, which will feature our annual Supply Chain Matters Predictions for the coming year in supply chain.


Bob Ferrari