BREAKING: Punxsutawney to retire Phil the groundhog, replace him with Greta Thunberg

People send me stuff. A friend of mine (an insider in the groundhog committee bunker) tells me that due to the pressure they are getting from PETA (for groundhog abuse) that they will soon announce that they are retiring ” Punxsutawney Phil”, the famous weather prognosticator, and replace him with globally respected child climate forecaster Greta Thunberg.

Apparently, the behind-the-scenes argument for this is that since all “weather is now climate” on a daily basis, they can safely switch from a rodent-based weather forecaster to a brat-based human climate forecaster.

While PETA has been calling for an “animatronic” groundhog robot to replace Phil, the groundhog committee felt that wouldn’t be believable, and since the same sort of people that believe in the reliability of rodent-based weather forecasting, would also likely believe Greta Thunberg’s climate prognostications, the committee decided she would be a better and more believable fit than a robot.

This makes as much sense to me as anything else I’ve heard about climate alarmism.

Star of the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray, had no comment when asked, but he’s already taken the unemployed Phil away on an alternate timeline loop:

Meanwhile, our resident cartoonist, Josh, has summed it all up very nicely:

Josh worked on a Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday and Groundhog Day no less) to get this done, so please buy him a pint here.

Big h/t to Mike Wolcott for starting the ball rolling.

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February 2, 2020 12:53 pm

Groundhog day always seemed like a strange honorary day, anyhow. I mean, why not “red ant day” or “killer whale day”?

Now with Greta, it is so much stranger.

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
February 2, 2020 1:05 pm

You want to try to pick up a red ant or killer whale?

Thought so…

Reply to  Shanghai Dan
February 2, 2020 5:49 pm

Who said they needed to be picked up? It is possible to see shadows because the sun is shining, not because some bloke in a suit hoists a fat rodent!


Y. Knott
Reply to  RockyRoad
February 3, 2020 8:19 am

“since all “weather is now climate” ”

This is egregiously false. Only weather that fully supports the CAGW narrative is climate – the rest is just weather, and has no relationship whatsoever to climate or anything else.

I thought this was all boiled-out by now – how dare you! 😉

Reply to  Y. Knott
February 3, 2020 11:57 am


Reply to  Y. Knott
February 4, 2020 1:07 am
Tom Abbott
Reply to  RockyRoad
February 3, 2020 8:51 am

” It is possible to see shadows because the sun is shining, not because some bloke in a suit hoists a fat rodent!”

On a related issue, Punxsutawney Phil *always* sees his shadow because, according to Janice Dean, the Weather Machine, there are numerous birght lights shining when they pull Phil out of his den and put him on television.

Great cartoon, Josh. I laughed out loud! 🙂

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
February 2, 2020 2:23 pm

Groundhog Day has its roots in Germanic folklore where hedgehogs (or badgers?) were said to forecast weather. Immigrants to Pennsylvania used groundhogs as an understudy, even though their forecasting skills are also questionable. See

Personally, I like to use mid-season points to note changes in sunrise/sunset timing. I wrote in the CoCoRaHS FaceBook group:

Astronomically, the equinoxes and solstices mark events. Seasons are sort of immaterial, but convenient.

Meteorologists mark the start of season on the 1st of those months, in part for the convenience of calling “DJF” winter and in part to recognize the delay between the astronomical event and the coldest/hottest/whatever weather associated with the season. (New Englanders are quick to point out our winter is DJFM – in a good year.)

We do observe the mid-season points, I like to use them for significant points in sunrise/sunset time. E.g. between today today and May Day we’ll transition between the short days since Halloween and the long days we’ll have by May. Well, we don’t have a decent observance in early August, and its Dog Days don’t count.

I think the pagans got it right, they observe all eight points as holidays. Happy Imbolc!

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Ric Werme
February 2, 2020 3:48 pm

“Germanic folklore where hedgehogs (or badgers?) were said to forecast weather.”

Reminds me of that famous scene in the movie, The Treasure of the COPP Davos Madre:

Dobbs: If you’re weather forecasters, where are your Badgers?
Greta: Badgers? We ain’t got no Badgers. We don’t need no Badgers. How dare you. How Dare You. HOW DARE YOU!

Great movie. Unfortunately not out on BluRay. 🙂

Randle Dewees
Reply to  Ric Werme
February 2, 2020 5:09 pm

How exactly would you use a badger? Roll the cage outside and see if there is a shadow? They are cranky.

Reply to  Randle Dewees
February 2, 2020 5:58 pm

Just look into the sky to see if the sun is shining! Nothing else is needed (especially since he can’t talk, nobody knows whether he can actually see, and he may not even understand what a shadow is)!

What a silly tradition! Toss it! Oh, and toss any substitutes like Greta, too!

nw sage
Reply to  Randle Dewees
February 3, 2020 6:32 pm

Go to Wisconsin – they are the Home of the Badgers!

Big T
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
February 2, 2020 6:11 pm

A little bit of stick in the mud, grumpy?

Jim G
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
February 2, 2020 6:56 pm

Red Herring may be more appropriate…

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
February 2, 2020 7:03 pm

How about OceanHappens day .
Sea surface temp , ocean currents, now or projected have more effect on weather or climate than any little animal could ever know about .

Gerald Marquardt
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
February 3, 2020 6:01 am

How about Dork Day!!

Mumbles McGuirck
February 2, 2020 1:13 pm

Actually there is some science behind Groundhog Day. Behind Greta’s rants, not so much.
If in February, the sun is shining, then cold Arctic air masses predominate and winter’s grip will remain for a while. If it’s cloudy, the there are fronts in the area and the transition to spring is near.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
February 2, 2020 3:18 pm

Kind of like “Mare’s tails and Mackerel scales will make tall ships lower their sails“… If I remember correctly Punxutawney Phil has a 43% accuracy rate. Gretard and every other Malthusian in the history of human civilization has a cumulative…

…accuracy rate.

Reply to  David Middleton
February 2, 2020 8:58 pm

Gretard has a Dean Wormer-level assessment of her forecasting sk1ll.

Reply to  David Middleton
February 3, 2020 2:18 am

“Mackerel skies and mare’s tails
Make tall ships carry low sails.”
IOW, strond wind is coming, reduce sail and/or reef.

Reply to  Oldseadog
February 3, 2020 3:45 am

A whole semester of meteorology 42 years ago… And about the only things I remember are “mare’s tails and mackerel scales” and “red sky at night”… 😎

Reply to  David Middleton
February 3, 2020 4:26 am

My Met was 58 years ago so even more out of date. Never heard of mackerel scales, though, but it still scans, as all these sayings do. Or most of them, anyway.

Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning,
Red sky at night, shepherd drunk, shepherd’s house on fire.

Reply to  Oldseadog
February 3, 2020 9:39 am

A mackerel sky, known in Germany and France as sheep clouds (German: schaefchenwolken; French: nuages moutonneux), is a large, spreading assemblage of clouds that resembles a series of waves or fish scales, with blue sky peeking out between the puffs. It consists of cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds, which indicate moisture high up (around 18,000-30,000 feet (6,000-10,000 meters) in a cold sky (the blue bits indicate that these clouds are breaking up due to instability in the air). Mare’s tails, meanwhile, are long, threadlike cirrus clouds, often stretched by strong high-level winds. Both clues suggest an impending storm, typically 6-8 hours away [source: Weather Online].

The way I remember the other one is: Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.

A red sky at sunset is an indication that a high pressure system is approaching. A red sky at sunrise is an indication that a low pressure system is approaching.

Reply to  David Middleton
February 3, 2020 12:00 pm

Well, then, take the reciprocal!

Isn’t that what science is for?

…and math!?

Javert Chip
February 2, 2020 1:23 pm


Maybe this gives Greda time to finish high school so she could go on to study economics, science and politics (aka: learn what’s she’s talking about) instead of being a sock-puppet for adults.

Reply to  Javert Chip
February 2, 2020 2:01 pm

She’s been kept in the dark so far. Probably wouldn’t notice a change of employment.

michael hart
Reply to  Richard
February 2, 2020 2:42 pm

If she were to spend more time underground, like Phil, then it would be no bad thing.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  michael hart
February 3, 2020 2:31 am

Lead singer Paul Weller hates capitalism, loves socialism, as long as it didn’t affect him. Hypocrite!

Reply to  Richard
February 3, 2020 3:53 am

well shes what in Aus we’d call feral
and a cave we could roll a rock in front of..
oh maybe not..
just in case the messiah complex gets worse;-) lol

frankly i MUCH prefer Phil, he got a nicer face and temperament

February 2, 2020 1:24 pm

Phil would be more accurate if they got him off the government payroll.

Abolition Man
February 2, 2020 1:32 pm

My little sister’s birthday is February 2, so I always enjoyed the occasion with cake and ice cream. But this replacement plan has me very suspicious. She was always a huge brat as a kid and she often wore her blonde hair in pigtails! Could there be an unknown connection between groundhogs and brats with pigtails? Where is Leonard Nimitz when we really need him! As I told my sister this morning: Happy Super Bowl Groundhogs Day! St. Greta takes job from large rodent!

Reply to  Abolition Man
February 2, 2020 3:46 pm

Also one in my family. Christians might be aware that February 2 is Candlemas

Carl Friis-Hansen
February 2, 2020 1:36 pm

Greta is Swedish, so her native new name of honor could be “Greta Markhund Thunberg” or GMT for short.

February 2, 2020 1:50 pm

If we only had to hear about her as much as we hear from Phil, I be all for it. Shut up and go back to sleep….

February 2, 2020 1:51 pm

Are you sure this story is not from The Babylon Bee?

February 2, 2020 1:54 pm

Nowadays most people are far removed from wild animal life and are not aware of the seasonal lives which they live.
The Groundhog Day ceremony (commercial as it is), still serves to remind humans how their wildlife brethren perceives nature. If you live in a rural/remote area you know what I’m describing.
Around my neck of the woods (Southern Vermont), we see different bird and predator species as the seasons change. The flora also reacts to the weather, sometimes in violent ways. Do not be near older trees during wind or lightening events. Carry some kind of protection from hungry bears in the spring. Etc.
It is life as we know it and live with it. It is just wonderful.

Reply to  yirgach
February 2, 2020 2:08 pm

And the wild groundhogs in New England and Pennsylvania are still in hibernation today.

Reply to  yirgach
February 2, 2020 2:37 pm

Nowadays most people are far removed from wild animal life and are not aware of the seasonal lives which they live.

I’d go a step further and say a lot of people are not aware that there are seasons. All they know is when it gets warmer it’s climate change. When it’s getting cooler it’s climate change. When it’s windy it’s climate change. When it’s wet it’s climate change. When it gets warmer it’s the hottest ever on record. Everything else is extreme weather because of climate change. It beggars belief.

February 2, 2020 1:58 pm

Did PETA’s complaint actually produce evidence of abuse? Or is it just PETA being PETA: animals are better than humans, you suck, go die in a hole you pigs.

Reply to  leowaj
February 2, 2020 2:40 pm

Does PETA care about the birds slashed by wind turbines?

Reply to  niceguy
February 2, 2020 2:44 pm

Birds, and bats, as I was reminded recently. The Green Gauntlet. The Green Blight.

Dave Dodd
Reply to  leowaj
February 2, 2020 4:09 pm

PETA = People Eat Tasty Animals!

Geo Rubik
Reply to  leowaj
February 2, 2020 8:21 pm

PETA cares nothing about real happenings. Only about their “pet” projects.

February 2, 2020 2:01 pm

“Josh worked on a Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday and Groundhog Day no less) to get this done”

Isn’t Josh in the UK? If so, National Yorkshire Pudding Day will be of much more interest to him, I’m sure.

Go Niners

Reply to  philincalifornia
February 2, 2020 10:40 pm

Niners slipped on the poop!

February 2, 2020 2:12 pm

Thanks, Anthony. The headline made me laugh, so I had to read the post from stem to stern, along with the comments, and they left me still smiling.


Reply to  Bob Tisdale
February 3, 2020 9:22 pm

Plus 1. Funnier than all hell, Mr Watts! I will
passing this thread along. :<))

February 2, 2020 2:16 pm

If Sippel et al is correct and we can now determine climate on the examination of a single day’s weather, we get bizarre results of course.
See – you know the greatest two-year global cooling event just took place 103243.html
So NASA GISS showed the world temperature plunging by 0.56 C in that period 2016-2018, the largest drop since 1982/83.
Even now the 5 world temperature gauges ( GISSTemp, HadCru3,HadCru4, RSS and UAH) show temperatures around 0.5C below the height of the ENSO spike in 2016.
Conclusion: We are now experiencing global cooling.
Not true of course.

February 2, 2020 2:38 pm

Weather is not climate unless it is.

Russia is the enemy unless Russia is buying an uranium company.

Accepting or demanding or buying “dirt” on your opponent is OK unless your don’t pay Russians close to Putin for it (then it’s a high crime).

Saying the Constitution “allows me to do whatever I want” is false and absurd unless you’re Maxine Waters and then anything that you say warrants impeachment does warrant impeachment.

Using your powers to investigate a (potential) political opponent (or a member of an opposite party) is impeachable unless you’re in the Ways and Means Committee (or the AG of NY).

And hearsay evidence is not acceptable unless you’re impeaching someone for trying to investigate a potential political opponent without paying Russians close to Putin (then it’s the best evidence, better than direct testimony).

Reply to  niceguy
February 2, 2020 5:08 pm

my favorite…stealth bribery is impeachable
…that’s when you bribe someone….but don’t tell them about it

Reply to  Latitude
February 2, 2020 10:51 pm

…or even tell yourself!

Then do the opposite to confuse your political opponents even to the point of declassifying confidential conversations! That must be a hate crime of unprecedented magnittude!

Even Romney could see it!


Reply to  RockyRoad
February 3, 2020 10:44 am

Oh I forgot the TS aspect.

Obviously storing the non-transcript phone conversation transcript that was “merely” Top Secret on a “code word” level computer, so a more secure than needed storage, was a “violation” as bad as … storing TS SAP SCI … (“Special Access Program” “Sensitive Compartmented Information”) stuff in a bathroom server, and the access codes to that computer stored, among other devices, on the smartphone of the “I send selfies of my underwear to minors” guy.

Totally equivalent for the anti Trump crowd.

Reply to  niceguy
February 3, 2020 12:02 pm

LOL!!! (I actually did!)

February 2, 2020 2:40 pm

Headline: PETA empathy for-profit leaves groundhog destitute.

February 2, 2020 2:47 pm

Today is the day that fun traditions die. The day that they are aborted, again, and again, and again.

February 2, 2020 2:49 pm

Today is the day that fun traditions die. The day that they are a-borted, again, and again, and again. Catastrophic anthropogenic [sociopolitical] climate change.

Don Perry
February 2, 2020 3:01 pm

I think it’s a good idea, as long as they keep her in a cage, make her sleep all winter and only wake her on February 2.

Dave O.
February 2, 2020 3:30 pm

The science behind groundhog forecasting is more robust than human forecasting.

February 2, 2020 3:33 pm

Headline PETA leaves groundhog destitute. Pets fear that social progress signals the end of a “dog’s life”. Cats are having kittens. Dogs are mad.

February 2, 2020 3:43 pm

The guys in the top hats look a bit like Michael Mann-intentional?

Craig from Oz
February 2, 2020 3:52 pm

I refuse to take anything by PETA seriously unless they support their claims with semi naked female protesters.

I then still don’t take them seriously, but at least get to also display my Toxic Male Gaze and trigger feminists as well.


February 2, 2020 3:57 pm

Great idea as long as they stuff her back in a hole for the rest of the year where she can be neither seen nor heard for the other 364 days of the year! The biggest problem is that I’m sure it will be found that the groundhog will have a much superior record for accuracy.

February 2, 2020 4:08 pm


Be lucky if all the snow is gone in 12 weeks.

February 2, 2020 4:09 pm



February 2, 2020 4:10 pm

Greta, in this tweet, admits that 2017, 2018 and 2019 were cooler than 2016, ie a THREE YEAR COOLING PHASE!

Mike D.
February 2, 2020 4:26 pm

In the interest of non-divisiveness may I suggest a solution everyone can agree with: replace Phil with an animatronic Greta!

In addition, give the Gretabot some artificial intelligence and it’s win win win for all.

February 2, 2020 4:27 pm

Careful, Greta’s been trademarked. 😉

February 2, 2020 4:27 pm

If it means I only have to see Greta once a year and she doesn’t make any sounds, I’m okay with that!!
So long Phil.

February 2, 2020 4:43 pm

Wait, did I get my calendar wrong? Did we swap Feb. 1st for April 1st?

February 2, 2020 5:01 pm

i’m all for an “ animatronic” groundhog robot to predict the next oil change for animatronic robots

February 2, 2020 5:18 pm

So it is true. Animal abuse is worse than child abuse. Not like Phil has ever been abused.

February 2, 2020 5:29 pm

comment image

February 2, 2020 5:43 pm

The whole is very, very silly anyway. Retire the whole thing. Replace him with a big empty spot.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Sheri
February 2, 2020 7:53 pm

What’s wrong with a little harmless silliness? A little humor is good for the spirit. It’s not like they are going to tax us over the prediction.

Reply to  Sheri
February 3, 2020 7:52 am

Silly? Hey a captive groundhog lives a boring and uneventful life so deserves its 15 minutes of fame. Much more exciting to be a wild groundhog where it gets to experience various other forms of excitement such as playing with coyotes, dodging bullets, dodging cars, flooding, lots of promiscuous behavior, lack of food for months, etc.

Reply to  eyesonu
February 3, 2020 1:12 pm

Joe Bastardi says he saw a ground hog along side the road this weekend. It wasn’t moving and birds were pecking at it. Not much excitement there.

J Mac
February 2, 2020 7:05 pm

All things considered, I’d prefer the groundhog. Any groundhog is a better companion, more personable, and affectionate!

Tom in Florida
February 2, 2020 7:51 pm

Using a robotic groundhog will be fine until the day comes when it is asked to make the prediction and replies:
“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that”.

David Blenkinsop
February 2, 2020 8:37 pm

Is it possible that the Punxsutawney ‘insider’ in this case is just strictly making a joke?

If this is a serious proposal, they are surely committing a kind of destruction of the tradition they’ve operated on thus far? I mean, a silly tradition, granted, but still, take the ‘tradition’ out of ‘silly tradition’ and what’s left?

Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 3, 2020 12:05 pm

…but it’s so close to reality it’s hard to tell the difference anymore!

February 2, 2020 8:54 pm

Punxsutawney Phil needs to take a hockey stick and whack it upside a few heads.

February 2, 2020 10:08 pm

If this happens, can we keep her in Phil’s cage? 😉

February 2, 2020 11:32 pm

I was in for 20quid. Well done Josh.

Ed Zuiderwijk
February 3, 2020 1:47 am

A brat-based forecaster. Genius!

Alan Kendall
February 3, 2020 3:41 am

Will Aussis be holding up singed koalas to predict how long the fire season will last?

Reply to  Alan Kendall
February 3, 2020 4:07 am

nah mate
cos the smokes too thick to see a shadow’-)
and Aussies know that every drought and or hot nth wind day is a fire risk anywhere from september to march usually.
you’d maybe be surprised how well a grassfire will burn in a dry autumn/winter as well. its why we DO do brnoffs on our farms then.usually just before rains forecast

Alan Kendall
Reply to  ozspeaksup
February 3, 2020 4:43 am

Ozspeakup. Ta for the highly informed and superprompt response. This know-nothing Pomme used to live in the tinder rich state of California and has forgotten all he thought he knew about fires, except that animals were better at forecasting than my neighbours were. I also have flown over your Northern Territory at night and seen several linear fires stretching from horizon to horizon. An experience never forgotten.

Alan Kendall
February 3, 2020 4:48 am

Ozspeakup. Ta for the highly informed and superprompt response. This know-nothing Pomme used to live in the tinder rich state of California and has forgotten all he thought he knew about fires, except that animals were better at forecasting than my neighbours were. I also have flown over your Northern Territory at night and seen several linear fires stretching from horizon to horizon. An experience never forgotten.

February 3, 2020 7:25 am

Greta the Grinch stole my seasons — How dare she!

Michael Jankowski
February 3, 2020 9:56 am

One rodent is as good as another.

Why not Michael Mann? He’s somewhat local.

February 3, 2020 2:18 pm

Well Greta has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for 2020 and will probably win it, so she will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Reply to  LdB
February 3, 2020 6:45 pm

…one of the few children who will be wearing that idol around her neck like a millstone! (You all know Nobel was a notorious yellow journalist, right?)

Johann Wundersamer
February 15, 2020 3:06 am

Spinnen am Morgen, Kummer und Sorgen.

Spinnen am Abend, erquickend und labend.

Nothing to do with Spiders, “Spinnen”.

– spinning the yarn from before morning light tells that family of weavers weave the yarn in piece-work, they’re on the brink to lose their existence basis.


– spinning in the evening shows that families work is done, they recreate with some nice game of Patience, waiting game.

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