The National Climate Assessment report issued this week indicates the Midwest is getting warmer, faster. Between 1980 and 2010 the average temperature in the region has increased three times as quickly as it did from 1900 to 2010. Projecting whats ahead, the report says by the end of this century readings would be 4.6-degrees warmer based on implementation of efforts to curb introduction of heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere and 8.5-degrees warmer than now without making the effort. In addition, weather data shows temperatures at night and in the winter have been rising faster than other times. Given the past winter, that may be a little difficult to fathom but weve got to remember that is one winter and one winter does not a climate make. While agricultural impacts to Michigan may not be as severe as other parts of the nation, theyll still require adaptation by growers. The report mentions late spring freezesheat stress and droughtincreased odds of violent stormsand greater insect pressure as being among the chief threats in the years ahead. While not apocalyptic the climate change message for ag in the Great Lakes region is sobering and one which deserves everyones attention.
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