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12 January 2006
Climate change v. the rosebushes

1990 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone MapChris Clarke, at Creek Running North, has written a really good post about some of the practical implications of climate change.

Rather than writing persuasively in order to convince skeptics about the reality of global warming and climate change, many scientists and scientific writers have moved on to the important work of figuring out how we'll need to adapt our lives and strategies to suit our new and changing climate. Chris has written about how the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone maps have been altered to reflect changing temperature extremes across North America. The Hardiness Zone map was first published in 1990 and was intended as a tool to guide selection and management of plants over the range of temperatures encountered in the North America. The map was modified in 2004 to reflect the new temperature extremes resulting from climate change. Chris has side-by-side maps for comparison. About half the US has shifted up one zone. A few spots have shifted 2 zones. The portions of the country without a zone change have also warmed, but not enough to warrant a zone change yet.

Here in lower Michigan, we're no longer considered zone 5, but we've warmed ourselves up to zone 6. In just 14 years. A small change that will have huge effects to both natural and artificial plant and animal systems.

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