Global climate change occurring right outside your window

Cold winter nights are essential for rhododendrons to thrive, but in parts of Georgia those cold nights no longer occur.

Cold winter nights are essential for rhododendrons to thrive, but in parts of Georgia those cold nights no longer occur.

It’s a cold fall day in north Georgia, which isn’t unusual. But it’s more unusual than it used to be.

Global climate change is, by definition, global. Local- or regional level data can’t be used to prove or disprove it. But as human beings we witness the change, and experience the change, at the local or regional levels.

For example, if you think that spring is coming earlier and earlier these days, you’re right. Here in Georgia, trees are reaching “first leaf” some four days earlier than they did from 1961-1980. It may not seem like much of a change, but it has come very quickly and shows every sign of continuing. By the middle of the century, spring on average may come as much as two weeks earlier than in the historical data, throwing off plants, animals, birds and insects.

And then there’s the issue of temperature extremes. In a stable climate, record lows and record highs should occur in roughly equal numbers. I looked at the Atlanta data for two time periods — since 2000, and since 2010 — and this is what I found:

ATLclimate

The Atlanta data offer a good explanation why local data can’t be used to characterize a global phenomenon, because the change as we’ve experienced it and witnessed it is substantially greater than it is nationally or globally. Nationally, record highs have outnumbered record lows by roughly a 2-1 ratio since 2000; Atlanta’s ratio of more than 3-1 is somewhat unusual.

Another way to document the change is through shifting plant-hardiness zones as issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Certain plants are intolerant of too much heat; others of too much cold.

Rhododendrons, for example, need cold winter nights as part of their flowering process, and all of Georgia once provided suitable habitat for “rhodies”. That’s no longer the case. The same is true of an even more iconic plant, the Georgia peach.

Under maps updated by USDA in 2012, based on temperature data compiled through 2005, growing zones in Georgia were shifted 50 to 100 miles northward since the 1990 update. The Georgia coast now has a climate more akin to north-central Florida, and has become too warm for most varieties of rhododendrons or peaches to thrive. **

People who spend a lot of time outdoors — gardeners, farmers, hunters and fishermen — will often tell you that they’ve noticed these changes themselves. And that is pretty stunning. As skeptics of climate change often point out, the climate has never been stable; it is always changing. But according to scientists, it has never changed at a rate that would be noticeable within the range of a human lifetime.

Climate change at the end of the last glacial period, for example, took 5,000 years. But according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “the current rate of global climate change is much more rapid and very unusual in the context of past changes.” In fact, if warming continues at the rate projected in climate models, “there is no evidence that this rate of possible future global change was matched by any comparable global temperature increase of the last 50 million years.”

That’s a long time. And no observable mechanism other than man-made changes is powerful enough to account for such a rapid transformation.

——————————

USDA Plant Hardiness Map, 1990

USDA Plant Hardiness Map, 1990

** The USDA’s updated 2012 plant-hardiness map of Georgia, based on weather data through 2005, was significantly different than the 1990 map, based on data through 1986:

  • Zone 9a, which in the 1990 map was typical of central Florida, appears for the first time in Georgia in the 2012 map and now dominates the Georgia coast. That puts it outside the growing range for most varieties of rhododendrons and peaches, which is zones 5 through 8.
  • Zone 8b, once confined to counties right along the Georgia-Florida border and along the coast, now covers the entire southern third of the state.
  • The border of Zone 7b, which once extended as far south as Macon, has moved 75 miles north to Atlanta.
  • Zone 7a, which once covered most of north Georgia, has retreated northward to a mere sliver of northwest Georgia and a bit of northeast Georgia.

    USDA Plant Hardiness Map, issued in 2012 based on data through 2005

    USDA Plant Hardiness Map, issued in 2012 based on data through 2005

 

Reader Comments 1

453 comments
JanFreed
JanFreed

Whether for fun, twisted party loyalty, or profit you deniers are complicit with the climate change deaths of hundreds of thousands/year, 88% of them children (World Health Organization)


http://www.who.int/heli/risks/climate/climatechange/en/

And Deniers, your favorite little Teddy Bear of Nonsense:  Hiatus? Nope.It’s back on track…

http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2012/02/05/global-warming-has-stopped-how-to-fool-people-using-cherry-picked-climate-data/’’

The Planet Just Had Its Warmest August On Record

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/15/warmest-august_n_5823642.html?cps=gravity

The Planet Just Had Its Hottest September On Record

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/13/3579242/nasa-hottest-september-on-record/

The planet just had its hottest October on record http://thkpr.gs/3592424

Hottest 12 Months On Record: NOAA Data ‘Show No Pause In Warming’

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/21/3581943/hottest-12-months-on-record/

Jhunt163
Jhunt163

@JanFreed Nice, you link to a Forbes article from February 2012. You do know that most of the climate scientists accept the concept of the hiatitus. The IPCC even admitted it in AR5.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Captain-Obvious "More premature celebration on the part of libs."


No, you've already lost.  You can't demonstrate that I think and feel about Gruber what you *believe* I think and feel about Gruber.  Moreover, I'm the expert on said topic and you're simply an observer.  In the end, you lose on that topic.


"And you seem to throw a hissy-fit every time you insert yourself into my conversations, Tuna."


No one here *owns* conversations; no conversation is any more mine than it is yours.


"Maybe you should chill out, or just avoid the inevitable embarrassment of losing to me on a constant basis."


When I ever lose to you, I'll give that some thought.  That said, I don't ever see that happening.


"You're a lot like MarkV over at Kyle's place. Can't defend a policy, but rely on precise and uber-technical wording to try to weasel out of a stance."


Your concession and surrender are noted; I'm 2-0 on your today, Catpain.


If you didn't have the stones to be polite and ask me about my political thoughts, history and the like, you should have simply said so.  Of course, that would have taken character and humility, two things you apparently don't possess.


Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Captain-Obvious @Tuna Meowt And you keep right on failing to prove your assertions about what others think, and then bailing out on the thread when that gets pointed out to you.


FYI, you posted this on the next thread:


"Never assume you know everything going on inside the mind of someone you've never met nor spoken to."


Take your own advice, Catpain.

patty7beth
patty7beth

Oh Jay, you big silly. Trying to convince climate change deniers with facts and graphs again. When will you learn?
We need to start getting smart about this stuff. Start a conspiracy theory that Obama is an African supremacist who wants to wipe out Aryans by heating up the planet, after which he'll declare Sharia law and seize all the white folks' guns.
Faux News will go postal and Tea Party types, especially out West and down South, will be falling over one another to save us all from global warming. Maybe it's time to fight stoopid with stoopid.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Captain-Obvious @patty7beth  Oh do provide the linkee to the "stalling" claim.  I don't know why but I don't trust your "recap" of this so-called FACT. 

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Captain-Obvious @KUTGF @patty7beth  So you have nothing.  Just what I thought. 


As heat-trapping gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) (panel A), have increased over the past decades, not only has air temperature increased worldwide, but so has the ocean surface temperature (panel B). The increased ocean temperature, combined with melting of glaciers and ice sheets on land, is leading to higher sea levels (panel C). Increased air and ocean temperatures are also causing the continued, dramatic decline in Arctic sea ice during the summer (panel D). Additionally, the ocean is becoming more acidic as increased atmospheric CO2 dissolves into it (panel E). http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/oceans#statement-16755

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Captain-Obvious @KUTGF @patty7beth  The ocean is a critical reservoir for heat within Earth’s climate system, and because of seawater’s large heat storing capacity, small changes in ocean temperature reflect large changes in ocean heat storage. Direct measurements of ocean temperatures show warming beginning in about 1970 down to at least 2,300 feet, with stronger warming near the surface leading to increased thermal stratification (or layering) of the water column.5,6 Sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic and Pacific, including near U.S. coasts, have also increased since 1900.21,15 In conjunction with a warming climate, the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has decreased rapidly over the past four decades

TinaTrent
TinaTrent

@patty7beth Ah, the race accusation.  Always race.  It never ceases to amaze me, the fever-dreams of race swirling in leftists' heads.  It's a raw and unhinged -- and clearly satisfying -- fetish.


Patty Beth: I dare you to put your name to this hateful nonsense, so neighbors and coworkers can see who you are and what you think of them.    

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

"Yup, be a good boy, and Santa FOX will bring you a brand new ghazi to play with in the New Year!"


LOL. Ghazi ain't gonna make Gruber go away (as much as you'd like it to). 

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@RaindroidWillBoy @Penses


"You do realize that BO himself suggested he had not legal authority to do so in the past."


That was what I was alluding to when I used the phrase "his own stated principles" in my post. But, as should be obvious to most, and even someone like Turley has observed, Obama is not a principled man.


Perhaps that helps explain why he is so dishonest. I read where Limbaugh thinks he is a sociopathic liar. I am not one much for psychological labels, but I do think his dishonesty is pathological (that is, abnormally excessive). Mark Twain once quipped that "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." What is odd about Obama is that he doesn't seem to remember anything he has formerly said. It's almost as if he's oblivious to that fact that when he contradicts himself he will be 1) found out and 2) perceived as a liar.


He's an odd duck - and probably not a very good one (I don't think you can be a habitual liar and be good).

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Anyone notice how much other nations are paying to the dictators of  . . . . oops, I mean to the undeveloped nations (not sure who is on that list of recipients)  to help them begin work reducing the effects of climate change?  In case you have not been paying attention to US foreign aid policy, as defined and implemented by our ultra liberal, State Department bureaucrats for life, giving them that money will be tantamount to piling three billion dollars up in the middle of the street and setting a match to it.  


No one will ever know where that money goes or who will benefit, but that does not matter to the State Department or our Prez, or his liberal supporters, who are beyond anxious quantify climate change using American tax dollars so that the money can start to roll.


And to answer the question, America pays the lion's share, as usual, and as with the UN (a world organization that America finances for unfathomable reasons),  which works tirelessly to undermine the interests of America and its allies all over the world, other nations will only pay a fraction of the total contribution. 


And really great news! By 2035 - or some where around then - China will have done some things - not sure what -  to reduce its carbon emissions -  not sure by how much -  but they are on really really on board -  even though currently, ust 20 years prior to seeing the the the results of the "big break through" made by Obama, the Chinese are building coal fired energy plants like nobody's business, and they are continuing to do so. 


Can you possibly imagine how much other world leaders laugh at this guy, this walking talking joke of a statesman, when they have these meetings and he is out of the room or out of ear shot? I don't understand how or why we let him near any other world leaders without proper supervision.  


Is the world climate temperature increasing? Yes. Does and has human activity contributed that? Highly probably. How much? No one really knows, and it may take decades, or a century or more before we do. Climate change was once discussed in terms of thousands of years. but the Dems/Libs want to compress all of that into the next election cycle, and they want to use it to create newer, and bigger, and better taxes on energy. There is no problem confronting America, in their minds, that cannot be "fixed" or corrected by a new tax of some sort.  They need to get climate change quantified into dollar amounts,  and they are desperate to do that. 

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

 self respecting liberals

------------------------------------------

I think when other identities fail, such as "good human beings", "reliable journalists", "honest politician" the observed deterioration of character will leave a leftist.  However self-respecting one can be eschewing reason and polite conversation and common sense is an open question. 

gotalife
gotalife

Another kid slaughtered sheetz.

straker
straker

Raindroid


How is it that you know more about climate science than the top climatologists at NOAA?

fedup52
fedup52

@straker  They are the direct descendants of the Roman Catholic Church from Galileo's time.  Those idiots knew more than the scientist back then too.

gotalife
gotalife

Lets face it, the gop could promise to make their stupid voters slaves and stupid voters would still vote for them.


Stupid voters do not believe in accountability.

TicTacs
TicTacs

@gotalife  Only the Congress can fund the gov't.  That's their job.

RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

" In fact, if warming continues at the rate projected in climate models, “there is no evidence that this rate of possible future global change was matched by any comparable global temperature increase of the last 50 million years.”

Jay, current climate models are of trivial value.  This is becoming the new consensus despite your subscription to anyting suggesting the sky will fall. Of course there is no evidence it is not possible to know what temperature was in all but 200 of the 50 million years.

RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

Jay

Keep trying to shovel such short sighted and illegitimate information.  What credible models do you have to suggest this is more than just a trend that has happened before and will happen again?

You don't.  Do you ever consider challenging your ideological position on this issue?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Looks like you folks would be more concerned about the imminent dismantling of Obamacare by the SC.

It's coming.

WGA1990
WGA1990

@DownInAlbany 

The grubers are certainly living in a world of hurt these days. It seems that their world is crashing in around them.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@DownInAlbany That's what y'all said the last time it went before the SC.  Don't y'all ever get tired of being wrong?


BTW, another Federal Circuit Court upheld the PPACA just last week.  I think that's 13-0 for our side as far as federal court cases go.

TicTacs
TicTacs

@DownInAlbany  The other states will do fine,  GA again will be left behind.

gotalife
gotalife

One pipeline is not a jobs plan stupid voters.

fedup52
fedup52

@gotalife  Once built the pipeline will produce only 50 jobs.  That is going to replace 100s of jobs from the railroad that is moving the filthy oil now. Net result JOB LOSS.

gotalife
gotalife

@fedup52 @gotalife Of course, the gop are job killers. It is what they do and stupid voters reward them with their votes.

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

"Strikes me as not in accord with  the law and history to assert ANY executive action will be illegal."


Why belabor the obvious? And until we actually see Obama's OE, we will not know if he has violated his own stated principles (let alone the Constitution). In the meantime, we have the new and much watched comedy called "Gruber Goes to DC."  


Paul42
Paul42

@Penses

All one hears from Republicans is that ANY executive action on immigration is illegal and so will necessarily be opposed.


RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

@Paul42 @Penses 

From a negotiation perspective, he is doing the right thing.  Too bad he has questioned his ability to legally do so in the past.  Setting a low bar as many liberals do by comparing him to GWB is not relevant.  I want conditional amnesty which is the only practical solution.  He will have to give the GOP something to get what he wants which means working with them, a task by his own acknowledgement, is beneath him.

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@Paul42 @Penses


"All one hears from Republicans is that ANY executive action on immigration is illegal and so will necessarily be opposed."


I vote Republican as a rule but am not saying that. Thus, your statement is hereby invalidated.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Obama chose Gruber to be on his transition team after winning the 2008 election.

But, he just heard about him last week.

Wear it, libs. 

gotalife
gotalife

Their new shiny object is still stuck in their stupid heads.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@gotalife 

You use the word stupid more than anyone else here, Goat. 

Your fine examples of writing show us why. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@gotalife It's ok, ya'll will give us a brand new shiny object, if not tomorrow, then REAL soon. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

He was at the White House 21 times according to the Journal, citing White House visitor logs, starting in 2009 through June of this year.

And, yet, Pelosi doesn't know him and Obama just heard about him.  uh-huh

RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

@fedup52 @DownInAlbany 

How any self respecting liberals can disregard the idea that BO and Pelosi knew exactly who Gruber was is ridiculous. Why even defend such?  Your guy is dishonest, thinks we are all stupid, and thinks he is entitled to carry on as such.

gotalife
gotalife

wolf returns from vacation because his country was attacked today.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Dems stick with Pelosi as leader

Stuck on "stupid."

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  1. […] winter of 2017-18 again call for above-average temperatures throughout the region. Year by year, the zone in which peaches can be profitably grown in the Peach State continues to shrink, costing the state economy millions of dollars. In a couple […]