Friday, June 24, 2011

It's warmer and the gov't will prove it.

When things change in your yard, you notice it, right? For most gardeners, it is the first place we are interested in.
When the world's climate changes, do you notice that? Even in your own yard?
I found this article on the NYT blog:

Grasping Climate Change at a Garden-Plot Level By LESLIE KAUFMAN

On Friday, the federal government announced that it would take advantage of that connection by introducing a pilot project in concert with the American Public Garden Association to educate some 70 million annual visitors to public gardens, many of whom are gardeners themselves, on climate change.The first activity is an exhibition at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., where evidence of climate change is already apparent. “Through Longwood Gardens-sponsored research we have observed that plants are flowering earlier on average one day per decade over the last 150 years,” Paul Redman, the garden’s director, said in a news release.Drawing on climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the exhibition, which opened on Friday, presents a map of how anticipated changes in average minimum temperatures are expected to affect planting zones across the country. The Agriculture Department, which separately maps plant hardiness zones based on factors including temperature, issued its last map in 1990.Using their cellphones, gardeners will be able to obtain information on the impact on specific local plants.Brady Phillips, a NOAA spokesman, said it was unclear how quickly the program would be rolled out at additional gardens. He said that would depend on the public’s reaction to the first exhibition as well as the availability of future funding.

From the National and Oceanic Atmospheric Agency's website:
 “Climate change is happening now, and it’s beginning to affect the things we care about, such as our treasured gardens, parks and natural landscapes,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This new partnership provides a special opportunity for NOAA to connect with gardeners and communities across the nation to help everyone better understand what changes in local climate mean for the plants, trees and landscaped areas around them.”
The NOAA has published a map, detailing the changes in zones that we can expect in 30 years. You can see the map yourself. NOAA Climate Change Zone Map.
It appears that in 30 years, my area will move up an entire zone to Zone 6. I thought I would be happier about warmer temperatures. I certainly didn't want them if they come packaged with higher disease rates, an increase in insect population, and unsafe water quality.
The brochure and website says it all:

While the longer growing season provides the potential for increased crop yields, increases in heat waves, floods, droughts, insects, and weeds will present increasing challenges to managing crops, livestock, and forests. Spring flooding is likely to delay planting. An increase in disease-causing pathogens, insect pests, and weeds cause additional challenges for agriculture. Livestock production is expected to become more costly as higher temperatures stress livestock, decreasing productivity and increasing costs associated with the needed ventilation and cooling equipment.
All this impending doom is assuming the current emissions rates continue to rise. Even under low emissions policies, by the end of the century my state of Illinois will have summers that are comparable to what people in Mississippi experience now. Much hotter and drier.
After studying these brochures and websites for hours now, they don't offer any advice on how to turn this thing around. I hate that part.

I do look forward to growing Sweetbay magnolia and Crepe Myrtles again, but not at this cost.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know. In my neck of the woods, everything is about a month late this year due to an unusually wet spring. The climate is definitely changing...always has been and probably always will be.


I would love to hear from you and if you can leave a comment, I will visit your blog, too!