Much of the work on climate change is communicated by discussing annual average temperatures, and how those averages are expected to change over the next century. Lauren Parker, a graduate student working with John Abatzoglou at the University of Idaho, shared some of their work looking, instead, at temperature extremes. In particular, they focused on minimum winter temperatures, and how they are likely to change across the United States by mid-century. Not only do their results suggest that minimum temperatures are likely to get warmer quicker than average temperatures, they also discuss what this means for crops and ornamental plants that are limited in their extent because of intolerance to cold winters, and what that means for consumers of such products. You can listen to a two-part interview with Lauren on the topic below, or read the full study is that was recently published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Parker, L.E., Abatzoglou, J.T. 2016. Projected changes in cold hardiness zones and suitable overwinter ranges of perennial crops over the United States. Environmental Research Letters 11 (3): 1-8. Online Access