POTD 1/29/2012 USDA Shifts Growing Zones

sorry again for my somewhat irregular posting lately, work on Dark Odyssey WinterFire, Bilerico.com, and a messed up sleeping schedule has interfered, but I’m getting back on track

It has been announced that the USDA has adjusted their seed charts to reflect climate change driven shifts in planting and growing zones. 18 of the 34 cities listed on the previous model, released in 1990, have been shifted to warmer zones. 

It is hard to know how much to read into this new information. On the one hand, it seems a damning endorsement of warming climate models. At the same time, there have been significant improvements in data gathering and climate modeling technology over the past twenty-two years, making it a bit of a challenge to parse legitimately higher temperatures from more a more accurate understanding of continental temperatures. 

It is likely that the reality lies in the middle, although personally I suspect that the scales tip towards a warmer nation, rather than simply a more accurate one. The (Anchorage) News Tribune quotes Boston University biology professor Richard Primack as saying: 

“People who grow plants are well aware of the fact that temperatures have gotten more mild throughout the year, particularly in the wintertime…”

“There’s a lot of things you can grow now that you couldn’t grow before.”

Only time will tell what that means for the planet’s economic, ecological, and sociopolitical futures. 

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